Ferrostaal Piping Supply GmbH is inaugurating its first U.S.
office in Houston to take advantage of a competitive energy
The company, which has
more than 60 years experience as a supplier of pipe and
pipe accessories such as flanges, fittings and elbows,
traditionally works with large engineering, procurement and
construction companies, especially petrochemical, refineries
and fertilizer plants.
However, while much of
Ferrostaals activity has been concentrated on Germany and
Western Europe, it is moving quickly into North America due to
low-cost natural gas, a top executive said.
"Pipe has been an
important import item into the U.S. for a number of years
already and is probably one of the largest importers of pipe in
the last few years. Today, when we talk about the U.S.,
everyone is talking about fracking," Ulrich Pruss, managing
director of the Essen, Germany-based company, told AMM
an interview. "In the next couple of years, from our point of
view, there will be lots of investments in new plantsbe
it refineries, petrochemical plants, fertilizer plants,
whatever. These plants require lots of pipesseamless
pipesplus those accessories. Wed like to play a
role in this business."
This summer, the
company opened subsidiary Ferrostaal Piping Supply USA Inc. to
manage contracts from engineering, procurement and construction
companies, develop new business and get into the traditional
trading space by importing and exporting pipe.
"Houston is one of the
most important cities in the world regarding energy, oil and
gas. Most companies around the world that are involved in this
industry have opened up offices here already," Ferrostaal
Piping Supply USA president Axel Bartschat said. "There are
also a lot of foreign manufacturers of pipe that have opened up
or will be starting production in the next couple of years.
Its not only manufacturers of pipe, were also
seeing companies like Voestalpine (AG) investing in a mill in
Corpus Christi to produce hot-briquetted iron for the steel
traditional pipe traders, the company also offers accessories
such as fittings and flanges to provide a "one-stop shop" for
customers, Bartschat said.
"When we talk about a
contract with one of the (engineering, procurement and
construction companies), it usually means combining materials
from up to 20 different sub-suppliers and manufacturers. Here,
we have our central warehouse in the Netherlands where we can
bring every material together and package (it) in accordance
with the requirements and needs of our end customers," Pruss
A number of U.S.
producers recently filed anti-dumping and countervailing trade
petitions vs. oil country tubular goods imports from nine
countries, which could potentially stymie additional foreign
amm.com, July 2). However, Bartschat said the
company will unlikely be affected due to its relationships with
"The case covers most
of the cheap pipe origin countries like Vietnam, Turkey,
Ukrainethe list goes on. For us, weve done more
business in the past with high-end European-based mills. So,
when domestic prices rise, which will most likely happen here,
well see mills out of Europe become more competitive. ...
We are definitely looking at origins of pipe from countries not
accused of dumping," Bartschat said.
"We are of the opinion
that this business segment will grow, but it wont fly
anytime soon," Pruss said.