NEW YORK TMK Ipsco logged weaker shipments during the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier due to a declining rig count and high customer inventories, parent company OAO TMK said.
Shipments in the Russian pipe producers North American division totaled 263,000 tonnes during the quarter, down 8.1 percent year on year but up 3.1 percent sequentially.
Pressure on prices, which is expected to hurt Houston-based TMK Ipscos first-quarter earnings, is seen abating as the year goes on, TMK said. The company maintains its positive long-term U.S. market outlook, it added.
Despite the long-term optimism, imports remain a challenge in the U.S. market.
Local procurement and prices are seriously affected by imports from South Korea and India, TMK said, expressing caution about the growing number of U.S. mills being built and a trend away from more sophisticated drilling technologies.
The situation is becoming more complicated with the commissioning of several pipe production facilities within the U.S., as well as the fact that consumers are switching to standardized, and thus cheaper, drilling technologies to minimize costs, TMK said.