TMK Ipsco sold fewer energy tubulars in North America in the third quarter of this year after demand slowed in the United States, the company said.
TMK Ipsco shipped 217,000 tonnes of material in the third quarter, down from 247,000 tonnes in the prior quarter, Russian parent TMK said on Tuesday October 23 in an operational statement covering the first nine months of 2018.
The volume decline was due to "a temporary market slowdown in the US, following the imposition of Section 232 earlier in the year," Alexander Shiryaev, chief executive of Russia-based TMK, said in the statement.
Still, volumes for the first nine months of the year were higher than the equivalent period in 2017, the company said. TMK sold 694,000 tonnes in the first three quarters of 2018, versus 575,000 tonnes in the year-earlier period.
All the figures include line pipe and oil company tubular goods (OCTG).
After achieving multi-year highs earlier in 2018, Fastmarkets AMM's price assessments for OCTG declined in all three months of this year’s third quarter after buyers grew less worried about shortages. Line pipe prices dropped in July and September and were unchanged in August.
Fastmarkets AMM's price assessment for US domestic seamless P110 casing stands at $1,550-1,600 per ton fob mill. Fastmarkets AMM's price assessment for US domestic X52 line pipe stands at $1,320-1,400 per ton fob mill.
TMK Ipsco's seamless sales weakened at a more severe rate than their welded counterparts. Seamless volumes in the third quarter dropped to 116,000 tonnes, from 138,000 tonnes in the second quarter. Shipments of welded items fell to 101,000 tonnes from 109,000 tonnes in the same comparison.
TMK called the downturn a "gradual slowdown due to high levels of inventories built up" in the second quarter, when US President Donald Trump's Section 232 steel tariffs and quotas triggered aggressive buying. The company suggested that activity will bounce back in the near future.
"Demand has remained solid, as has the rig count, despite short-term takeaway concerns in the Permian Basin," TMK said. "We have observed a decrease in excess inventory and an increase in demand for certain types of pipe."