An oil rig lies 20 km off the coast of Newfoundland. A town lies 80 km along the coast from the nearest point on land to the rig. A pipe is to be drilled from the rig to the town. The cost per km of the pipe under water is \$2.5 million, but on land is \$1.5 million. Find the route that results in the cheapest pipeline, and determine that lowest cost.

I was struggling to do this problem and I have no idea how to start. Please help!!!

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to MSE. Please read this text about how to ask a good question. $\endgroup$ Aug 8 '19 at 11:22
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    $\begingroup$ Draw a few maps of how the rig could be connected to the town with a variety of points where the pipe meets the land. Label the length of the section on land and at sea with a variable e.g. $l$ and $s$ and then try to come up with a formula for the cost. $\endgroup$
    – badjohn
    Aug 8 '19 at 11:24
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @badjohn. Start by drawing a map and writing the distances on the map. Come back when you have the map and tell us what you got. $\endgroup$
    – Matti P.
    Aug 8 '19 at 11:30

Let $x$ be the pipe length of on land. Then, the length under the water has to be according to the diagram,


So, the total construction cost as $x$ varies takes the form


Then, the optimal pipe length for the cheapest cost can be found by setting $dc(x)/dx=0$. You should find 65 miles of pipes on land.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice job. Note to OP: Draw a picture! $\endgroup$
    – N. Bar
    Aug 16 '19 at 20:17

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