NEW YORK OAO TMK, the Russian parent company of North American pipe and tube maker TMK Ipsco, expects U.S. pricing for oil country tubular goods (OCTG) to improve late this year.
"TMK expects the challenging pricing environment to continue through the end of the year as import inventories continue to apply downward pressure on prices," the company said. "The positive preliminary decision in the OCTG trade case announced Aug. 16 and subsequent price increases are expected to begin to be reflected in improving transaction prices in the fourth quarter and carry over into the first quarter of 2014."
However, TMK also noted that the "latest market reports show OCTG import volumes have not significantly changed since the filing of the trade case against nine countries" in early July.
The company shipped 848,000 tonnes in North America during the first nine months of this year, up 1.4 percent from the same period last year. Third-quarter shipments of 294,000 tonnes were "slightly above" the second quarter.
Despite a lower drill rig count in the quarter compared with the same period last year, OCTG consumption remained relatively robust due to improved drilling efficiencies. "The trend of improving drilling efficiencies continued as operators drilled more wells in less time and at greater depths," the company said.
TMKs overall shipments totaled 1.06 million tonnes in the third quarter, down 2 percent from 1.08 million tonnes in the second quarter.
Year-to-date shipments of 3.2 million tonnes were up 1.7 percent from the first nine months of last year. Seamless shipments fell 2.8 percent to 1.81 million tonnes but welded shipments climbed 8.3 percent to 1.39 million tonnes in the same comparison.
The companys OCTG sales rose 4 percent to 1.34 million tonnes in the first nine months of the year from 1.29 million tonnes last year.