World demand to rise 5+% annually through 2017
Worldwide demand for oil and gas pipe is expected to increase over five percent per year, approaching 55 million metric tons in 2017 as higher oil prices and rising demand for energy spur new development, especially in unconventional and offshore fields. Growth in oil and gas pipe demand is expected to be especially strong in developing regions, where infrastructure is being improved to support increased drilling activity.
OCTG pipe demand to outpace growth in drilling rigs
Demand for OCTG pipe will outpace growth in the number of drilling rigs through the forecast period. This is due to rising offshore activity, deeper wells, and growing use of horizontal drilling techniques. In addition, higher pressure drilling techniques will increase the tonnage of OCTG pipe, since wall thicknesses will need to be increased. Seamless steel pipe will remain the dominant product in this application due to strength in these harsh environments.
Plastic pipe to grow fastest, steel to remain dominant in line pipe segment
Demand for line pipe will benefit from construction of new transmission lines and the need for gathering systems at new drilling sites. Plastic pipe will post faster gains than steel due to widespread use in gathering applications. However, steel pipe will remain the dominant line pipe material because of its high pressure resistance. Welded pipe will continue to comprise the majority of steel line pipe demand, due to its lower cost compared to seamless pipe. Demand for distribution pipe will benefit from rising residential construction, which will boost the need for natural gas lines to new homes.
Africa, Mideast regions to see strong gains in demand
Oil and gas pipe demand in North America will benefit from the development of shale plays, especially in areas that have not until recently been major energy producers. Line pipe demand in the region will benefit from the additional infrastructure built to transport oil and natural gas from the well sites. Africa will post the best gains of any region through 2017, due to development of offshore wells off the west coast. In addition, the Mideast will have strong gains due to sustained growth for large producing nations such as Saudi Arabia. Demand in Central and South America, especially Brazil, will benefit from a strongly expanding offshore sector, including considerable activity in pre-salt zones, as well as increased onshore activity. China, which dominates oil and gas pipe demand in Asia, will experience steady growth as its oil and gas production continues to rise. Russia, another key oil and gas producing nation, will see oil and gas pipe demand rise at a strong pace.