CHICAGO Timken Co. Steel Group president Salvatore J. Miraglia Jr. described himself as "really excited" about shale drilling, calling the opportunity "a wonderful development" for his company and the entire industry.
Miraglia told AMM that demand for seamless tubing made from special bar quality (SBQ) billets will keep growing as the United States taps into the burgeoning resource to produce crude oil and natural gas.
"The shale play is a wonderful development because we make products well suited to the needs of deep-shale horizontal drilling," he said. "It wont only help our businessin terms of economical energy, it can make our industry much more competitive on a global scale."
Miraglia said he isnt worried about low natural gas prices slowing exploration and extraction. "Now that its down to $2 (per million British thermal units), we need the incubation time to generate the demand that such economical energy will create," he said.
For example, fleet owners are trying to figure out how to convert their vehicles and truck builders are beginning to produce natural gas-fueled models, he said, and electricity providers are starting to build or refit generating plants to use natural gas.
During this period, "demand pressure will begin transitioning to the product. Meanwhile, the people doing the drilling (will be) going after the wet gases because oil is still at $103 a barrel," Miraglia said. Another opportunity will arise when liquid natural gas terminals at U.S. ports are converted from import to export capability.
Shale drilling will have benefits that go beyond any one industry, Miraglia added. "This resource has the abilityover the course of a number of years you can count on one handto make the United States energy independent . . . and balance trade."