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Influx of energy tubulars pressing market

Keywords: Tags  Rick Alakas, Unifor Local 523, Welland mill, Energex Tube, oil country tubular goods, OCTG, tubular imports, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — The North American energy tubular market is being pressured by an increase in low-priced imports of the product, leading to such events as the recent shuttering of Energex Tube’s mill in Welland, Ontario, a local union representative said.

“The difficulty we face is the influx of unfairly traded pipe into the North American market. Obviously that’s very concerning to us and our membership,” Rick Alakas, president of Unifor Local 523, told AMM.

A favorable ruling in July from the U.S. Commerce Department in its final determinations on the oil country tubular goods (OCTG) anti-dumping trade case could be a boon for the 126 union and 36 salaried employees at the plant, who are expected to be indefinitely laid off May 19, Alakas said. “I’m going to hold out some hope that that may be favorable to the Welland operations,” he added.

The closure of the mill (, March 25) will have effects beyond Welland, Alakas said.

“It just doesn’t impact one facility. This is going to have deep ripple effects on industries that are attached to Energex,” he said, citing companies providing flat-rolled steel and operational services to the mill.

Alakas urged lawmakers to take heed of the industry’s predicament. “The Canadian and American governments have to realize that the North American (energy tubular) industry is under a tremendous amount of pressure,” he said.

U.S. imports of OCTG totaled 567,579 tons for the first two months of the year, up 25.7 percent from 451,481 tons in the same 2013 period, preliminary data from the Commerce Department’s Enforcement and Compliance Division show.

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