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.