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Pipe manufacturing co. Tenaris restarts Houston-area plant after Covid closure

October 18, 2021

Luxembourg-based steel pipe manufacturer Tenaris SA (NYSE: TS) has restarted its Baytown plant, which temporarily closed in April 2020 amid the height of Covid-related economic turmoil and low oil prices.

Tenaris has been working to restart the plant since March by hiring, training, installing new equipment, performing commissioning work, and testing systems and processes, the company said Oct. 18. There are currently about 180 employees at the Baytown plant, and Tenaris plans to continue hiring through the end of the year, a spokesperson said.

Tenaris mills and sells pipe products primarily to the oil and gas industry. The company acquired the Baytown plant when it purchased Houston-based IPSCO Tubulars Inc. from Russia-based PAO TMK in a nearly $1.21 billion deal in 2019.

The threading plant in Baytown will be heat treating and finishing production from Tenaris’ seamless mill in Bay City, about 80 miles southwest of downtown Houston. The $1.8 billion Bay City plant was completed in late 2017, and it's nearing capacity, Tenaris said.

“Demand for (oil country tubular goods) has been rising amid an improving market, and we have been steadily raising our level of domestic production and expanding our team to best respond to our customers as they scale up their drilling operations,” said Luca Zanotti, Tenaris U.S. president.

This latest move is part of a series of facility restarts and production increases at Tenaris facilities across the U.S. In March, the company said it would ramp production back up at its Conroe plant, adding about 140 jobs. In April, the company announced plans to restart operations at its Koppel melt shop and Ambridge seamless pipe mill in Pennsylvania. At the time, Tenaris also reported it was working to increase its U.S. employee headcount by 1,000 in the next few months.

Tenaris, which operates its U.S. headquarters in Houston, has manufacturing facilities in more than 30 countries. It had nearly 1,600 U.S. employees as of Dec. 31, according to its 2020 annual report, and has added approximately 1,200 employees in the U.S. with plans to continue hiring into 2022, the company said Oct. 18.

By Olivia Pulsinelli, Houston Business Journal