HOUSTON Steel pipe
and tube maker TMK Ipscos focus on leading technology
will propel the pipe and tube maker toward becoming more
competitive in the energy markets, company executives told
"What were investing in,
in some ways, is state of the art. Not only is it
in line with the technology thats currently in place, but
were also looking at the trends for the future,"
Prasenjit Adhikari, TMK vice president and chief technology
officer, told AMM. "The industry is moving toward
unconventional energy recovery areas. Thats the area and
direction that oil companies are moving, and so are our
On Monday, TMK Ipsco launched
its $26-million, 70,000-square-foot research facility in
Houston, the first stage in the companys move from its
headquarters in Downers Grove, Ill. to Texas (amm.com,
Oct. 2). The center includes equipment that can undertake
corrosion, tensile strength, fatigue and load testing.
"Texas is an oil and gas capital
of the world. Were strategically moving here because of
our customers and partners in the industry. We think the move
will be important," Vladimir V. Shmatovich, senior vice
president of strategy and business development at Moscow-based
parent OAO TMK, told AMM.
Shmatovich added that the
company aims to be ambitious, especially in light of the
booming shale gas reserves in the United States, while also
looking ahead to strategic growth opportunities.
"Were looking at growth in
the United States ... and were looking for strategic
options in North America and definitely in the state of Texas,"
he added, declining to give further details.
The challenge, however, will be
how traditional pipe and tube markets will be able to feed into
unconventional drilling, even horizontal drilling.
"Were looking into
unconventional drilling, which is driving technology advances
in the area, but theres still lots of ground to be
covered," Adhikari said. "The days of the standard oil rigs are
gone. Were seeing a lot more aggressive environments,
such as (exposure to) hydrogen sulfide gasgas thats
very hostile to bare steel. Were also going deeper and
were going to need to have material that can withstand
those conditions. ... The pipe has to have the ability to take
different types of stresses."
At TMKs Houston research
center, various rooms are equipped with microscopes that can
magnify fractures in pipe and chemical makeup. Equipment that
can heat or cool materials at extreme temperatures tests the
companys products to ensure they meet American Petroleum
Shmatovich said the research
facility is unique to both the company and the pipe and tube
Not only does it aim to thrive
in innovation, it will also compliment the parents
existing research facility in Chelyabinsk, Russia, he said.
"Were No. 3 in the world
right now ... but were ambitious, and I believe we can
become No. 2," he said.
"We want to move away from the commodity markets and into