The global tube sector has, since 2010, recovered significantly from the economic downturn and, owing to the growing demand for gas as an energy source, the steel tube industry is experiencing positive momentum.
Trade fair organiser Messe Düsseldorf project director Friedrich Kehrer says this is good news for the International Tube and Pipe Trade Fair, or Tube 2012, which will be held in Germany next year as a renewed interest in steel tubes and pipe products might lure even more visitors and exhibitors to the five-day event that is expected to attract about 32 000 visitors, in line with 2010’s figures.
“The recovering market and increasing projects, such as pipelines and the construction of power stations, along with the demand for gas, will result in renewed interest in steel pipes and tubes, as these products are essential components of these projects,” Kehrer said at a presentation held in Gauteng in November.
He explained that global steel tube production in 2010 grew to 125-million tons a year, which equals record levels documented before the 2009 economic recession.
However, in regional terms, the focus was increasingly shifting towards Asia. China accounted for the largest share of steel tube production in the East with 57-million tons a year.
In 2011, Chinese production was also set to rise disproportionately, owing to greater domestic demand. However, growth was also being posted in other Far East countries, which produced just below 18-million tons of steel tubing a year.
“These Far East countries have been producing larger quantities of steel tubing than Europe and the US for far longer,” Kehrer adds.
Non-Asian regions were recording further significant growth but were not surpassing the record production figures of 2008.
Further, China was also the forerunner for seamless steel tubes, with the country producing more than 25-million tons a year, which is more than that produced by the rest of the world combined.
“The country is similarly dominant when it comes to small welded tubes with a diameter of up to 40.6 cm,” highlights Kehrer.
Meanwhile, Asia is still the leading producer of large welded tubes, and its position is not likely to change, he notes.