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
"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
"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."