Design, Installation & Operation of Pipe-Type Cable Systems


Pipe-type cable systems may be buried, but they are not dead! They have a long, reliable history and continued to be installed today even as XLPE cables gain popularity. The unique as-pects of pipe-type cable systems require special considerations, and many utilities have lost the senior level experience necessary to design, op-erate and maintain these systems. This course focuses on the design, ampacity, specifications, installation, uprating, maintenance practices, dielectric fluid-handling systems, and life evaluations of both high-pressure gas-filled (HPGF) cables and high-pressure fluid-filled (HPFF) cables.


The course will explain the unique aspects of pipe-type cables as compared to other cable types and then discuss various topics regarding the reliable operation of these systems including cathodic protection systems, pumping plant requirements, dissolved gas analysis (DGA), cable ampacity, uprating methods using fluid circulation and forced-cooling, and several other topics relevant to pipe cables.

Expected Learning Objectives / Outcomes

PDC has identified learning objectives we expect each student to obtain on completion of this course.  The student completing this course should be able to:
  1. Understand the major transmission cable types and how the others differ from pipe-type cables.
  2. Understand the basic steps in pipe-type cable design and installation.
  3. Describe the importance and basic operation of a pressurization plant for pipe-type cable.
  4. Understand the impact of electrical and hydraulic failures on pipe-type cable operation.


This course will be valuable to engineers and field personnel responsible for planning, designing, operating, or maintaining pipe-type cable circuits.


An engineering degree is helpful but is not required for this course.

Course Outline

Industry verview: history, suppliers, users, contractors  
Components, materials. Copper vs. aluminum, Kraft paper vs. PPP, dielectric fluids - liquids, N2, SF6, pipe sizes/coatings, etc.  
Engineering Design Requirements: impedances, ampacity calculations, pulling tensions, hydraulic calculations  
Pipe-type cable specifications and standards  
Manufacturing and quality control  
Accessories: splices/manholes, terminations, cathodic protection
Installation; civil work; pipe welding and testing, special backfills, vacuum and pressure test levels.
Trenchless Installations
Cable installation: special equipment; pulling, night caps, splicing, terminations, evacuation, fluid filling  
Hydraulic system; design principles, details, installation, operation. Cooling Systems  
Electrical and hydraulic failures; effects, location, repair
Operation and Maintenance
Leak Detection / Location, Temperature Monitoring, Uprating, Dynamic Rating; the future of HPFF cable systems  

This course will be held at the:
Alden Beach Resort
5900 Gulf Boulevard
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
A block of rooms has been reserved at the hotel at a special rate which will be honored for several days before and after the course. Reservations must be made 30 days in advance to obtain this low rate. Please mention the PDC Ampacity Course when you make reservations. The hotel is on the Gulf of Mexico, near many restaurants, etc.


Eriks Surmanis, Senior Engineer:

Prior to joining PDC, Mr. Surmanis was the manager of the Transmission Line Construction and Maintenance department at a major Northeastern utility, which included almost 400 miles of underground transmission cables.  Since joining PDC, he has worked on many pipe-type cable projects, including the condition assessment of pressurizing plants after damage from Hurricane Sandy, reviews of hydraulic systems for other utilities in the Northeast and Midwest, pipe-type cable relocations in the Midwest as well as assisting on leak location and repair efforts.  

Continuing Education Units
PDC will issue students a course certificate indicating the number of Continuing Education Units for the course completed based on national guidelines and the number of classroom hours. 1.2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded for successful completion of this course. The CEU is the nationally recognized unit for recording participation in noncredit educational programs. One CEU is equal to ten classroom hours.