The successful operation of a large-diameter cold water pipeline installation is crucial for harnessing the potential of ocean thermal energy conversion. However, there is a shortage of research focused on mechanical performance analysis during installation. This study establishes a pipeline response analysis model based on a nonlinear beam theory to elucidate the underlying mechanical behaviour. Employing the method of singular perturbation, the general solution for the exterior region of the pipeline, the solution at the boundary layer, and the valid solution across the entire domain are derived. A comparison with numerical solutions is conducted to validate the accuracy and effectiveness of the theoretical model. Based on the theoretical analysis, the influence of installation depth and pipeline curvature on the pipeline’s shape, tension, curvature, and stress is discussed. The results indicate that increasing the installation depth leads to intensified pipeline bending and significant deformation, reaching a maximum bending moment of 3.92 MN∙m at a distance of 50~100 m from the bottom of the pipeline. The results also show that, as the pipeline’s arc length increases from 0 to 100 m, the bending curvature, Von Mises stress, and bending stress exhibit a trend of initial growth followed by a decline, peaking at 7.45 MPa, and 6.83 Mpa, respectively, while the actual tension and axial tension decrease initially and then increase, reaching −0.17 MN and −0.17 MPa, respectively, at the maximum arc length. The findings of this study provide valuable insights for practical cold-water pipe installation and laying.