HOUSTON OAO TMK expects the first trial shipment from its Gulf International Pipe Industry LLC (GIPI) subsidiary in Oman to arrive on U.S. shores by the end of the month as the company looks to establish itself in the North American market, company executives told AMM on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston.
"We consider the U.S. to be one of our main markets. We have high expectations for this markets potential," said Kirill Marchenko, TMKs deputy chief executive officer for export sales.
Product from GIPI is expected to bolster TMKs domestic product lineup as the facility makes pipe from 8 to 24 inches in outside diameter in wall thicknesses up to 1 inch, whereas TMKs domestic subsidiary, Houston-based TMK Ipsco, makes electric-resistant welded (ERW) pipe up to only 16 inches in outside diameter and up to 0.5-inch wall thickness, according to Chuck King, director of TMK Ipscos industrial division.
"We have a number of customers that require larger diameters, which is where this facility really enhances our portfolio of products. It fills a hole and its a really nice complement to the existing facilities we have here in the U.S.," King said. The increased diameter needs for line pipe come as individual drill rigs are becoming more productive and flow rates are increasing as a result. "(Drillers) are actually drilling as many feet as they were drilling before (but) with fewer rigs," he said.
Moscow-based TMK acquired a 55-percent stake in GIPI late last year (amm.com, Dec. 4). The facility can make up to 250,000 tonnes annually of ERW line pipe and oil country tubular goods, Marchenko said, with TMK looking to take a balanced approach to supplying the domestic market.
"What we need to see first is the reaction of the client here to the high quality of our pipe, and then we will review our potential in this market. However, we will have a balanced strategy, including the production that we do with TMK Ipsco," Marchenko said.
The outlook for pipeline infrastructure remains positive, as some areas, such as the Bakken shale, have yet to develop sophisticated pipeline infrastructure and are turning to rail to fill transportation needs.
"Most of our activity is centered on the major shale plays in the U.S. There is a great deal of infrastructure building right now," King said. "The outlook for the next several years ... (is) pretty good."