March 9, 2011
Pipe producer TMK IPSCO is making a number of investments at its facility in Wilder, Ky., intended to improve operational efficiency and add value for its oil and gas industry customers.
The company's most significant investment in Wilder will be the installation of a thread shop, for which the company is receiving economic development support from the state of Kentucky. The thread shop construction will begin in March and is expected to be complete in mid-summer, with startup occurring by fall. Currently, pipe produced at Wilder is sent to other TMK IPSCO facilities in Iowa and Oklahoma for threading.
"By installing our own threading capabilities, we will be able to go to market faster and save significant freight costs," said David Diederich, director of operations for TMK IPSCO's welded pipe division. "This is especially true for our customers located in the Marcellus Shale region, as well as in the north and west. We will be able to respond to our customer needs more effectively than we have in the past."
The Wilder facility has two pipe mills, which produce welded pipe ranging from 4 1/2 to 16 in. in diameter. These pipes are primarily produced for oil and gas industry usage. Another investment for 2011 will include the installation of new 16-in. facing machines, which will start up in April, and produce a higher-quality bevel on the standard and line pipe produced at Wilder. In addition, the company plans to eliminate an intra-rail system that currently transports pipe out of the 16-in. mill. The plant will maintain its ability to ship directly by rail, barge, or truck, but with enhancements to the loading facilities.
While these investments will not result in an increase in employment in the short-term, the company anticipates that these operational upgrades will lead to increased utilization of the Wilder facility and therefore, a potential for increased long-term employment opportunities. The Wilder facility currently employs nearly 300 workers. At other TMK IPSCO facilities, including those in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio, the company has added numerous jobs – nearly 250 jobs company-wide in 2010.
TMK IPSCO has owned and operated the Wilder facility since 2008, but the plant's modern-era operations date back to 1981 under various owners. In 2011, more than 100 TMK IPSCO employees will celebrate 30 years of continuous service at the plant.
TMK IPSCO operates in North America as a division of TMK, a global energy pipe producer. With 23 production facilities around the world, the company's product offerings include a wide range of seamless and welded energy tubular products including oil & gas drill pipe, well casing and tubing, line pipe, LD pipe, standard pipe, hollow structural sections, and related services. TMK also manufactures connections for oil and natural gas drilling and production under the ULTRA™ Premium Connections and TMK Premium brand names.