Pipe makers' sales skyrocket along with area's gas boom
Natural gas drilling rigs are using thousands of tons of pipe and tubing products every day in the booming Marcellus shale region, experts said yesterday.
Last month, 90 rigs were boring holes in search of natural gas in the Marcellus region, and every day they drill, an estimated 25,000 tons of pipe-related products are placed in the shafts, said Paul Vivian, publisher of the Preston Pipe Report, who spoke at a conference on tubing industry at the Omni William Penn Hotel, Downtown.
The shale formation is about a mile underground and runs through most of Pennsylvania and into New York, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. The formation is estimated to hold enough natural gas to satisfy the country's needs for decades, some experts believe.
The average number of drilling rigs working nationwide last month was 1,513, which used a combined 378,000 tons of down-hole casing to brace the holes' walls, tubing to move the natural gas to ground level, and drill pipe to transmit power to the drill bit, Vivian said.
About 200 representatives of steel and pipeline producers and distributors attended the conference on opportunities in the country's dozen or more shale natural gas formations.
"There's no question the domestic pipe industry has benefited from the increase in rigs," said Vivian.
Executives from U.S. Steel Corp.'s tubular products unit and TMK IPSCO, which has two plants in Beaver County, also spoke at the conference.
Data from Rig Data Inc., of Fort Worth show that last month's nationwide count rebounded from May 2009's 910 drilling rigs in operation on land, but remains sharply down from 2,133 in May 2008. Pennsylvania-only rigs operating last month were above the May 2009 total of 40, Rig Data reported.
Given the cyclical nature of the natural gas industry, Vivian said he's concerned the pipe industry could be trapped in overbuilding, which would result in lower product prices.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum teacher held for trial on charges of witness intimidation
- Rossi: Steelers’ tarnished Bell rings true
- Tomlin gives suggestion Steelers won’t be shy about going for 2
- So Many Questions: Filmmaker Michael Anton says new comedy ‘The Great American Movie Hustle’ has strong real-life elements
- Steelers notebook: LB Harrison open for larger role
- Vandals ruin Ligonier Township farmers’ garden
- UPMC offering buyouts to 3,500 employees in cost-cutting move
- Police question resident in Latrobe apartment house fire
- Pirates win 5th straight as offense continues to click in win over Marlins
- Pirates notebook: Struggling Polanco held out of starting lineup
- Soccer officials arrested in Zurich; World Cup votes probed