NEW YORK TMK Ipsco is idling the 8-inch welded pipe mill at its Wilder, Ky., plant and is reducing work hours there and at its welded pipe operations in Blytheville, Ark., and Camanche, Iowa, due to pressure from imports.
The cutbacks represent about a 30-percent reduction in operating hours at the facilities and could lead to layoffs, the Houston-based subsidiary of Russian steel pipe and tube maker OAO TMK said in a statement April 7.
"We have seen intense pressure from low-priced and unfairly traded imports, particularly welded products, for more than a year and a half," TMK Ipsco president and chief executive officer David Mitch said in the statement.
The company said it had seen a considerable surge in imports of South Korean welded pipe since February, when the Commerce Departments International Trade Administration (ITA) assessed no anti-dumping duties on Korean steelmakers in a preliminary trade case decision (amm.com, Feb. 18). The ITAs final decision is due in early July.
One analyst said the cutbacks could help boost lackluster oil country tubular goods (OCTG) prices. "Theyre a pretty large provider and 30 percent is certainly a significant cut. Will that particular cut make the difference in price? Itll certainly help marry up supply and demand," Kurt Minnich, manager of Tulsa, Okla.-based Pipe Logix LLC, told AMM.
One trader added that it was hard to gauge the impact of the cutbacks in light of plentiful OCTG supply overall.
"In order to get a better feel, I would need to know the amount of tonnage involved in the cutbacks. The overcapacity in tubulars is just very large," he said.
The Blytheville facility can produce 25,000 tons per month of OCTG, standard pipe, line pipe and hollow structural sections (HSS) and Camanche can make 20,800 tons per month of the same products, while Wilder has the capacity to produce 47,500 tons per month of OCTG, standard pipe, line pipe and piling pipe, according to AMM data.
Despite the cutbacks, TMK Ipsco expects "little or no impact on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) as the (OCTG) division continues to shift its product mix toward seamless pipe and premium connections."