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Oct 21, 2013 | 10:23 PM

JFE embraces ‘only one/number one’ mindset to drive growth

Tags  Ken Shimamoto, natural gas, shale gas, steel pipe, steel tube, Chita Works, Jo Isenberg

When Shimamoto is a patient man. He has to be.

At the moment, the Manager of the Manufacturing Dept. of JFE Steel Corp.’s Chita Works has little choice but to wait for the shale oil boom in the United States to dry up and drillers here to turn their attention back to punching holes in the ground to extract shale gas.

“As you know, the U.S. has started producing more shale oil, which is shallow,” Shimamoto told AMM during a recent visit to the Tokyo-based steelmaker’s Chita Works, which has forged a reputation as one of the world’s leading producers of high-end, high-performance steel pipe and tube.

“As a result, demand for carbon steel pipe is increasing,” the JFE executive explained. “But we strongly believe that high value products such as high chrome and/or high strength products will have a place in the future.”

Chita, which produced 640,000 metric tons of pipe and tube products in 2011, is strategically located in Japan’s Chukyo industry district in the center of the country. The facility faces the Kinuura Port, which acts as a revolving door for the sourcing of billet, hot and stainless coil into the plant from JFE sister facilities and the shipment of finished product to customers around the world.

About 60 percent of Chita’s output is earmarked for the export market with roughly the same percentage of shipments destined for customers in the energy sector. Key consuming regions are Asia and North America.....


Jo Isenberg

Jo Isenberg is executive editor of AMM. She has been covering the steel industry for over 30 years and has served as editor of AMM for the last 11 years – the most successful decade in the publication’s long history.