MRC Global InSight

Gas Products

Polyethylene (PE) Pipe & Fittings

Current lead times for small diameter pipe and tubing range from 8 to 16 weeks. Lead times for larger sizes of standard pipe items are running from four to six weeks. Lead times for service tubing sizes are expected to remain volatile for the remainder of 2018 with larger diameter pipe continuing to improve. Some producers continue to add and convert capacity to address the needs of the gas utilities. Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) statistics as of June 2018 indicate a 17% year-over-year increase in polyethylene pipe pounds produced for all market segments, with gas distribution demand up 18% year-over-year. We expect gas distribution pipe and fitting consumption to remain strong for the foreseeable future. The overall result is generally inflationary.


Riser demand continues to increase due to active main and service replacement programs. Manufacturing capacity has improved and is keeping pace with demand. Pricing is expected to rise over the next six months as the cost for component parts like polyethylene service tubing and carbon steel pipe continue to inflate. Riser demand is expected to remain strong throughout the year with lead times ranging from four to eight weeks.

Meters Sets

Demand for meter sets in 2018 has been and will continue to be robust. Lead times have extended as reduced demand is beginning to outstrip current capacity. Regulator deliveries remain extended as a result. Industry lead times range from stock to 30 weeks or more, depending on the manufacturer. The effects of Section 232 and 301, compounded by cost increases on regulators, gas valves and unions, will affect pricing moving into 2019. MRC Global has placed forward orders for meter sets for the balance of 2018 and into 2019, allowing fabricators to plan production schedules around long lead time component parts.

Meters & Regulators

Meter and regulator demand is expected to remain strong through 2019. Lead times have extended due to industry demand and production interruptions during the second half of 2018. Infrastructure replacement projects across the U.S. are creating strong demand along with the return of new housing starts. Pricing is likely to increase during the next cycle due to increasing raw material costs and tariffs in the market place. The potential for new tariffs on castings could make a significant impact on meter and regulator cost.

Tracer Wire

Tracer wire pricing is driven by its primary raw material: copper. Copper pricing is currently being impacted by trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. We expect a general trading range from $2.70 to $3.00 per pound through Q3 2018. Expectations for the balance of 2018 are still uncertain.