New large outside-diameter spiral-weld pipe mills are
trucking right along with big plans to add new tons-market
downturn and concerns about overcapacity be damned. Although
delays have bogged down some projects, executives remain
generally bullish, at least for 2009.
At the same time, at least one spiral-weld pipe mill
executive is keeping one eye on imports with the other on a
possible trade case. He also acknowledges that competition
could be fierce when all the new spiral-weld mills come
on-line, even if the market does rebound.
Potential new U.S. capacity adds up to a whopping 1.84
million tons. Here's where things stand in large OD U.S. pipe
•?Berg Spiral Pipe, a subsidiary of Berg Steel Pipe
Corp., is in the final phase of commissioning its mill in
Mobile, Ala., according to David Delie, Berg Steel Pipe's
president and chief executive officer.
The mill's equipment is installed, and Berg Spiral Pipe
should begin commercial production and shipping by the end of
March, Delie said. "Things are going good. We're moving right
along. But it's always slower than you want trying to
commission the equipment," he said. "We're running the
equipment now. We've got some pipe made. And when we run into a
little problem, we fix it and move on."
Berg Spiral Pipe is on schedule to deliver 175,000 tons of
42-inch X70 pipe for El Paso Corp.'s Ruby Pipeline, Delie said,
and that means the mill, which will eventually have an annual
capacity of 200,000 tons per year, is booked into 2010.
The main suppliers of flat-rolled for the project is Svenskt
Stal AB's operation in Mobile, Ala., although the company also
is doing trial runs with material from ArcelorMittal SA,
Luxembourg, and U.S. Steel Corp., Pittsburgh.
Adding his voice to the likes of U.S. Steel chairman and
chief executive officer John Surma, Delie said he is keeping
his eye on import volumes and might consider a trade case on
large OD line pipe.
•?Stupp Corp's new spiral-weld pipe mill in Baton
Rouge, La., began receiving German-designed and -manufactured
helical two-stage equipment Feb. 1, according to the company's
Internet site. (The same German experts that disassembled it
are on site to reassemble it, Stupp noted.)
The Feb. 1 date was two weeks ahead of schedule, according
to Donald Bohach, Stupp's vice president of marketing. The mill
should start test production in the second quarter and
commercial production in the third quarter, he said.
The Baton Rouge facility is ahead of the game because Stupp
had good control of operations and logistics and didn't
experience any damage to the equipment, Bohach said. The mill
could take orders if it wanted to but hasn't to date, he
Besides good equipment, Bohach thinks having an
electric-resistance weld facility, a spiral-weld pipe mill and
coating operations grouped on a single, 125-acre campus will
give Stupp a big advantage over competitors who might have
those operations scattered across several locations.
•?Welspun Tubular LLC, part of India's Welspun Gujarat
Stahl Rohren Ltd., could begin commercial production any day at
its $150-million Little Rock, Ark., mill, assistant manager of
corporate affairs Subir Sen said in early February. The mill
just has to pass American Petroleum Institute audits and a few
test runs, Sen said.
The company already has an impressive list of clients,
including TransCanada Corp., Calgary, Alberta; Exxon Mobil
Corp., Irving, Texas; and El Paso Corp., Houston. "All major
orders from the U.S. and neighboring markets can be catered by
the Little Rock mill," Sen said.
Welspun is "optimistic" about oil and natural gas
exploration around the United States and "the huge replacement
demands (that) are yet to be tapped," Sen said. Even if the
U.S. doesn't recover by the second half of 2009, as many hope,
the Little Rock facility should be able to stay busy with
projects in Latin America, Canada and other nearby markets, he
•?Few specifics are available on United Spiral Pipe, a
Pittsburg, Calif., joint venture between U.S. Steel and South
Korea's Posco Ltd. and SeAH Steel Corp. Earlier reports
indicated the mill was slated to begin production in May
•?There appears to be little new to report at Evraz
Inc. NA's new large OD mill in Regina, Saskatchewan. Layoffs
may be plaguing Regina's 2-inch mill and its 24-inch mill may
not have orders after March, but the large OD spiral-weld line
pipe mill remains booked through the end of the year.
•?PSL-North America LLC, a subsidiary of India's PSL
Ltd., said in December it had bagged a big order that would
gobble up capacity at its new Bay St. Louis, Miss., mill
through 2009. PSL-NA's chief executive officer, Brian Vaill,
declined to disclose who placed the order.
Vaill said at the time that he expected the Bay St. Louis
mill to be up and running in January 2009, but the startup of
the facility could not be confirmed. MICHAEL
|New North American
Spiral-Weld Line Pipe Capacity
|(in thousands of short
|Evraz Inc. NA
|Berg Spiral Pipe
|PSL-North America LLC
||Bay St. Louis, Miss.
|Man Industries (India) Ltd.
||Little Rock, Ark.
|United Spiral Pipe LLC
||Baton Rouge, La.
|Welspun Tubular LLC
||Little Rock, Ark.
|Total additional capacity