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XL assessment seen boon for Welspun

Keywords: Tags  Welspun Tubular, Little Rock plant, Keystone XL pipeline, National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors, Rusty Fisher, steel pipe, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Approval of the final environmental assessment of TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline should bode well for about 358 miles of 36-inch pipe still being stored at Welspun Tubular LLC in Little Rock, Ark., for the project, according to a senior executive.

A 30-day public comment period following the assessment will end March 7 (, Jan. 31).

"We got some good news (on Jan. 31) that the State Department’s environmental assessment has been approved and hopefully it (Keystone XL) will go. It should go," Rusty Fisher, Welspun Global Trade LLC’s senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Americas, said at the National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors’ annual convention in New Orleans.

Welspun Tubular, a unit of Mumbai, India-based Welspun Corp. Ltd., is supplying 822 miles of pipe for the project, Fisher told AMM.

The delay of the pipeline, originally slated to start operations in 2010, has caused headaches across the supply chain. "It’s impacted pipe mills, it’s impacted construction people, it’s impacted valve people," he said.

Fisher also weighed in on the rapidly growing transport of crude oil by rail, agreeing with some pipeline companies’ assessment that it is a less environmentally friendly option (, March 15).

"I give the oil companies credit for coming up with an inventive way of moving oil and I give the railroads credit for being aggressive in pursuing this market, but the thing I will tell you is that you can’t convince me that it’s better environmentally or safety-wise," he said, citing recent derailments of crude oil trains in North Dakota
(, Dec. 31) and Quebec (, Sept. 3).

Meanwhile, Welspun’s electric-resistant welded (ERW) mill in Little Rock will allow the company to diversify its customer base (, Nov. 21, 2012).

"We have an opportunity to sell distributors now; we have an opportunity to sell midstream companies," Fisher said.

Overall, the facility has supplied 3,000 miles of pipe with external and internal coatings since operations began in 2009 (, Feb. 9, 2009), he added.

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