MRC Global October 2017 InSight

Carbon Steel Fittings & Flanges

The US carbon steel fitting and flange markets have seen a sharp increase in demand over the last several months as oil and gas market conditions have become more favorable. With the number of well completions increasing monthly, we anticipate this trend to continue. Due to these positive conditions, we have seen our manufacturers add shifts and restart idled facilities, increasing the capacity utilization to the highest level in two years.

We have seen a significant increase in the demand for high yield products in both fittings and flanges. This has caused lead times to extend to levels we have not seen in the recent past. In response to these conditions, MRC Global has increased our level of inventory and placed significant orders for delivery throughout the balance of 2017 and into 2018. We are well-positioned to meet the needs of our customers.

Pricing for commodity grade carbon steel fittings has been relatively flat over the last several months, reflecting the steadiness of the carbon steel line pipe market. We anticipate a stable market for the balance of the year, with slight increases coming if demand stays strong and lead times push out further. A petition has been filed with the US Department of Commerce charging that a 1992 anti-dumping duty order against butt weld pipe fittings from China is being circumvented by Chinese pipe fittings that undergo minor processing in Malaysia. This petition is being driven by a coalition of US manufacturers that produce carbon steel butt weld pipe fittings used in pipeline applications in the oil and natural gas energy sectors. As of this writing a preliminary determination has not been issued. We will keep our customers updated as information becomes available.

Flanges are a different story altogether, as indicated in our opening summary. The final determination in the US anti-dumping suit for flanges against Italy, Spain and India has been issued. The below chart illustrates the significant margins this ruling placed on all three countries, with Italy being hit the hardest.

MRC Global October 2017 InSight

In addition, India was assigned a countervailing duty determination of 5.66% for Norma, 9.11% for Gupta and 7.39% for all others.

This action has put extreme pricing pressure on carbon steel flanges with substantial increases announced and implemented throughout the supply chain. With the increase in demand, the stability in the market and the sharp increases in import material, we anticipate the increases to hold and possibly escalate through the balance of 2017.