Hais Pipe (Hartley-Anglo-Iranian-Siemens)
Hartley approached the chairman of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, Sir William Fraser, who liked the idea. He also happened to be the petroleum advisor to the War Office. Fraser connected with the director of Siemens Brothers, who also got onboard.
Siemens took the existing underwater cable design and worked with the UK’s National Physical Laboratory to modify it to transfer fuels.
The two-inch pipe was made from lead. They surrounded this with asphalt and a paper with resin. This layer was then wrapped with steel tape. Another layer of asphalt and jute tape after this. Finally a layer of fifty galvanized steel wires went around the tube and was covered by camouflaged canvas.
In May of 1942, a 120-yard test length was laid across the Medway River in Southern England by a Post Office ship. After a failure, more layers of steel tape were added. Stunningly, the pipeline worked. Another successful test was carried out in June.
A few months later a full-scale trial of the PLUTO project was rehearsed. A thirty-mile length of pipe was laid across the Bristol Channel in rough water. The test was a stunning success. The pipe originally was tested with a pressure of 750 PSI passing through it, which they doubled soon after. So, the line was moving 250,000 liters a day.
The group was so pleased with the results, they decided to boost the pipe up to three inches. The Navy procured a couple merchant ships which they converted into pipe-layers. Each could manage a hundred miles of the three inch pipe.
Hamel Pipe (Hammick and Ellis)
Due to the lack of lead, the military needed a backup pipe. Bernard Ellis and H. A. Hammick, the head engineers of the Burmah Oil Company and the Iraq Petroleum Company, thought mild steel was a good option. So, they created a three-and-a-half inch pipe, but it wasn’t flexible.
This proved to be a conundrum.
Although they couldn’t lay via cable ship, they produced another idea. They built steel towable drums forty-feet in diameter, which could be used to roll out the steel “Hamel” pipe. Showing off their best pre-Monty Python humor, they called them Conundrums (add your best rim-shot here) or “Conuns” for short.
Hartley notes each of these Conuns could carry seventy miles of pipe and weighed about as much as a destroyer.