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TMK Ipsco and its leadership still bullish on ‘the shales’

Apr 24, 2014 | 08:00 PM | Bill Beck

Tags  TMK Ipsco, Piotr Galitzine, shale, liquefied natural gas, energy production, National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors, Bill Beck

TMK Ipsco chairman Piotr Galitzine likes to talk about the geopolitical and economic impact of what he calls “the shales.”

Galitzine, who made a presentation at the National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors (NASPD) annual convention in New Orleans in February and attended AMM’s seventh annual Steel Tube and Pipe Conference in Houston in March, is bullish on U.S. shale gas and its impact on OCTG and line pipe growth.

Galitzine ticked off the long-term positive fundamentals for the United States and its growing supply of abundant natural gas, including for feedstock in petrochemical plants, replacement of coal-fired electric power generation, transportation and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Beginning in 2015, the United States will begin exporting LNG, he said, and by 2020 LNG exports could account for 8 to 10 percent of all U.S. natural gas production, provided no new export licenses are granted.

Galitzine told the NASPD convention that “growing demand for natural gas should support and further increase consumption of pipe and premium connections.”

TMK Ipsco has a 14-percent share of the U.S. OCTG market and has invested $500 million in modernizing its U.S. facilities. The company has doubled its heat-treating capacity to 550,000 tons and tripled threading capacity to more than 1.5 million tons. TMK Ipsco recently moved its U.S. headquarters to Houston, where it built a world-class research and development center. The subsidiary of Russia’s OAO TMK has 450,000 tons of steelmaking capacity and almost 400,000 tons of seamless pipe capacity.

And Galitzine said the boom in North American shale gas is just the beginning, noting that TMK Ipsco expects to benefit from the coming boom in methane hydrates. Located mostly at the foot of the continental shelf, methane hydrates are found by themselves or as a cap over free gas at depths below 700 feet. Geologists think that methane hydrate reserves will someday dwarf shale gas deposits.

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