MRC Global InSight

Carbon Steel Pipe, Fittings & Flanges

Fittings & Flanges

Demand for carbon fittings and flanges is recovering and the trend is expected to continue for the remainder of 2022. Carbon weld fittings have seen sharp price increases this year, which are primarily attributed to the elevated pricing of seamless pipe. Surging plate prices have led to even sharper rate escalations in weld caps and large diameter weld fittings made from rolled and welded cylinders. Carbon flanges have also seen moderate increases as a result of limited availability and increased prices of billet. Extended lead times will continue due to the limited availability of raw material but have settled at manageable levels.

Line Pipe

High-frequency welded (HFW) pipe has seen volatility once again over the past months after reaching historic elevated levels in Q4 2021. Hot rolled coil (HRC), which is the primary cost driver on HFW pipe, has been especially unpredictable. Since peaking in late September 2021, HRC began a quick decline for the following months through late September, where it abruptly reversed course in February 2022 due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Steel pricing, domestically and internationally, rose sharply once the conflict unfolded as significant raw materials and finished goods were removed from the supply chain in both Russia and Ukraine. As of early June 2022, it appears that carbon steel has stabilized in price at heightened levels and has experienced some drawdown from the peaks reached earlier in the year. Anticipation is that steel pricing will continue to soften, though at a slower pace. Supply premiums have moved from HRC pricing to the pipe mills, where demand is picking up and there is limited capacity due to the surging demand for Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) to support the increase in exploration and production activity.

Seamless (SMLS) pipe has continued to rise in price month over month and lead times have stretched on both U.S. domestic and import products. Availability in the spot market is a major concern as OCTG demand has greatly impacted the supply of SMLS line pipe. Capacity at the pipe mills continues to be allocated in favor of OCTG, leaving very little tonnage left for line pipe. This situation may be further compounded by the continuing U.S. government actions against importing countries of OCTG that could add anti-dumping duties, thus increasing demand at U.S. mills. Along with a resurgence of the upstream sector in the U.S., this has resulted in much higher demand for SMLS line pipe, with specific supply challenges seen in the smaller outside diameter pipes. The expectation is that this supply imbalance will continue for the remainder of the year and could stretch beyond 2022.