NEW YORK With domestic producers of welded line pipe reportedly struggling with low margins, a trade case targeting imports from South Korea and Turkey could be filed as early as mid-October, market sources told AMM this past week.
"Line pipe is truly getting destroyed because its a much smaller market with much smaller margins. Its not like OCTG (oil country tubular goods), where you get margins on heat treat and other things," one market source said, noting that line pipe producers have been hit with rising substrate costs and selling prices pressured by imports.
The case would likely target pipe up to 24 inches in diameter, sources said.
There will be some overlap with petitioners in the recently concluded OCTG case, although several U.S. line pipe mills also are likely to join the fray, AMM has learned.
One prominent U.S. steelmaker might not join the case, some sources claimed, although others said final decisions on who the petitioners are going to be have not been made.
Talk of a line pipe trade case has been ongoing since the recent OCTG verdict. The prospects have been bolstered by what was considered a victory for domestic producers in the OCTG case, Scott Montross, president and chief executive officer of Vancouver, Wash.-based Northwest Pipe Co., said in a recent earnings conference call (amm.com, Aug. 5).
Import market share in line pipe is greater on a percentage basis than in OCTG, Montross said.
Year-to-date imports of Korean line pipe totaled nearly 520,000 tonnes through Aug. 26, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Commerce Departments Enforcement and Compliance division, while shipments from Turkey totaled 43,539 tonnes in the same period.
Michael Cowden, Chicago, contributed to this story.