US Steel to idle Ohio, Texas tubular mills

Integrated steelmaker US Steel will idle its tubular mills in Ohio and Texas by the end of May in response to the collapse in oil prices.

The Lone Star, Texas, mill can produce 400,000 short tons (st)/yr of electric-resistance welded (ERW) tubular products for the oil and gas industry. The mill reopened last year due to growing demand after being idled during the 2014-16 energy downturn.

The Lorain, Ohio, mill can produce 380,000 st/yr of oil country tubular goods (OCTG), casing pipe, and line pipe.

US Steel is proceeding with installation of a new 1.6mn st/yr electric arc furnace (EAF) at its Fairfield works near Birmingham, Alabama, which will supply material to its seamless steel tubular operations, which have a production capacity of 750,000st/yr.

The idlings come as OCTG steelmakers in the US have been hammered by a collapse in oil prices, brought on in recent weeks by a price war between global oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia.

US oil prices fell by 61pc in the last month to $21.29/bl yesterday as neither Russia nor Saudi Arabia backed off from their disagreement over global oil supply. Saudi Arabia has flooded the market with cheap crude, pushing global prices downward.

The count of active US oil and gas drilling rigs has fallen by 2pc in the last month to 772, and is down by 24pc compared to a year ago.

Last week tubular steelmaker Tenaris said it was curtailing much of its US production because of falling oil prices, including idling its 600,000 st/yr electric arc furnace (EAF) billet mill in Koppel, Pennsylvania, and its 496,000 st/yr seamless pipe mill in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on 31 March.