OMK opens Houston pipe mill

Victor Schmidt
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
OMK invests in US OCTG market.

Russia-based OMK (United Metallurgical Company) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open its new pipe-manufacturing facility in northeast Houston. The US$100 million investment was made in response to rising demand for oil country tubular goods (OCTG), especially by strong demand in North America’s shale plays.

The new pipe mill sits on a 75-acre property with access to rail, and is three miles from its sister company, Tubular Solutions Inc., which processes and finishes pipe tubes into OCTG.

The mill was built in record time, nine months. Starting in March 2012, construction was completed the following December. The facility’s first pipe run was December 19 last year, and the plant is projected to reach full capacity by July 2013.

The new mill will produce line-pipe from 2 3/8in.-3 1/2in. OD, and casing from 4 1/2in.-7in. OD, ranging in thickness from 0.118in.-0.5in. Pipe lengths produced will vary from 20-65ft. Hot-rolled coil (HRC) steel to feed the plant will be sourced from local suppliers.

The state-of-the-art, pipe-manufacturing line is very quiet by industrial standards and highly automated. Steel coils up to 74 in. wide are split into multiple strips (bolts), which are then recoiled, banded and stored until needed. The system can split up to three HRCs per hour.

Individual bolts are welded into a continuous steel strip and spooled onto a material-buffering accumulator from which the strip enters the tube-forming machine.

The forming machine from Nakata (Japan) is computer controlled and very adaptable. Tooling for pipe forming can be changed out within five hours. Steel strip from the accumulator enters the machine where it is shaped into a tube; the seam welded, and the tube multi-point measured for quality control.

The tube is then heat-treated to anneal the weld for a stronger tube. Cooling follows before the tube enters a ‘double turkshead’ that straightens the tube and cuts it into pipe segments by dual, 12in. mill blades.

The pipe mill is designed to produce about 200,000 tons/year of OCTG. API certification is expected by early April 2013. Pipe from the facility will service OCTG markets across the US.

Categories: Pipelines North America

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