North American OCTG industry remains tight

  • Market: Coking coal, Crude oil, Metals, Natural gas
  • 11/22/22

Tubular demand has remained resilient for the North American steel industry, even as other sectors have either contracted or showed signs of contraction.

Demand for oil country tubular goods (OCTG) products is expected to remain strong going into 2023, as higher crude oil prices pushed the US rig count last week to its highest since March 2020.

Tubular producer Tenaris is planning to increase its US OCTG production after the US government this month imposed antidumping duties of 78.3pc and 44.93pc on OCTG imports from Argentina and Mexico, respectively.

The company operates 11 manufacturing sites and four service centers in the US, and another two manufacturing plants in Canada, according to its 2021 sustainability report.

Demand is expected to remain strong heading into the coming year despite robust imports for the year so far. The US imported just under 3.9mn metric tonnes (t) of pipe and tube products over the first nine months of 2022, compared with just under 2.8mn t in the same year earlier period, according to the latest official statistics from the Department of Commerce. Since then, preliminary data showed imports in October of 387,000t, up from 352,000t a year earlier.

French tubular steelmaker Vallourec expects North American OCTG supplies to remain tight going into 2023.

At the same time, integrated steelmaker US Steel boosted its tubular division output by 48pc to 173,000 short tons (st) in the third quarter from a year earlier, as the division operated at a 76pc utilization rate, up from 52pc a year earlier.

The active drilling rig count in the US was at 782 for the week ended 18 November, up by 39pc from a year earlier, according to data from oil field services firm Baker Hughes.

The Argus West Texas Intermediate fob Houston price has remained above $80/bl for most of 2022, and has been buoyed by supply shocks related to the war between Russia and Ukraine. It has fallen by 37pc since hitting a peak of $127.81/bl in early March, closing at $80.95/bl today.

This mostly contrasts with the wider steel market in which cooling demand has lowered lead times, prompting mills to caution over the near-term price and market outlooks.


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