Navigating challenges, forecasts and tapping into new industries for Steel Piping and Fittings suppliers.
Due to increased costs for raw materials and energy—the latter of which being problematic given how energy-intensive the industry is—suppliers of steel piping and fittings were struggling to keep prices reasonable also facing limited supply since of last year.
Coupled with a pandemic, geopolitical tensions and scarcity of materials, the road ahead may appear gloomy to the less navigated.
Yet the market forecast seems less dramatic.
By 2032, the market for steel pipes is predicted to be worth US$ 152 billion, with a steady CAGR of 5.4% from 2022 to 2032 (World Pipeline, 2022). During the anticipated period, the steel pipe market will experience a steady growth due to the increase in oil and gas production to meet the needs of the transportation sector.
The oil and gas sector remains the major growth driver of the target market as steel pipes and tubes find their major usage in this industry. However, the push towards an energy transition opens windows of opportunities that are worth investigating.
Steel pipes’ qualities, including their corrosion resistance and high levels of dependability, are becoming increasingly in demand across various industries globally. Steel pipes are a popular option for many industrial and construction applications due to its inherent qualities. During the projected period, all factors interact dinamically to provide favorable growth circumstances for suppliers.
“Rising industrial applications coupled with high demand from oil and gas, and construction industries will likely propel the global growth of the steel pipe market over the forecast period” says an FMI analyst.
This article aims to sketch the opportunities for piping and fittings suppliers within conventional and new energy industries that are set to be the benchmark for the future in energy production, transmission and distribution.
Among the sectors that have recovered from the 2020 slowdown are oil and gas, petrochemical and chemical, power generation, automotive, and aerospace. In 2020, demand dropped significantly, but it has since increased. As a result, prices for natural gas, coal, and oil have increased dramatically. Future output will be affected by inflation and the timeline for partially replacing fossil fuels with renewables. In this context, hydrogen’s potential future significance is crucial.
A major challenge, shared with all fossil-fuel industries, is the need to reduce carbon emissions.
According to the International Energy Agency (IAE), the transition to renewables needs to accelerate if the target of keeping within 1.5% emissions reduction is to be met (World Energy Outlook, 2022). Special materials made of alloys for heat resistance, that resist extreme environment and pressure are in demand for this sector.
Hydrogen is rapidly being developed as a bluer and greener way of powering industry, fueling vessels and heavy vehicles, and for storing energy. Hydrogen main advantage is that it is clean, and its only emission is water. Another important advantage is that it can be transported along pipelines that were constructed for natural gas. Two main disadvantages of using hydrogen as a fuel is that it needs to be compressed or liquefied, thereby increasing costs and its tendency to leak, causing explosions. Therefore, the criteria for leak tightness are especially rigid, requiring fittings that can withstand high stress, vibrations and pressures.
The most widely used stainless grades in hydrogen production are 304 and 304L, with 316, 316L, 321 and 347. However, since hydrogen melts at a temperature of -252.8°C, it requires pressurized and insulated containers, pumps, valves, piping and tubes when stored or transported as a liquid and some applications require resistant alloys higher than 304 or 316.
One efficient way of storing and transporting hydrogen is to use ammonia as a carrier.
Despite ammonia being expensive to produce it could be more convenient than hydrogen as it has a higher energy density and, in its liquid form, can be stored at a much less energy-intensive –33°C compared to –253°C for hydrogen.
These are just some of the industries and opportunities that are affecting the demand for tubes, pipes and fittings, with the requirements for precision, purity and material integrity likely to increase as the technology evolves.
With over 40 years of experience in the business of steel piping and fittings, STEELTRADE understands that rapidly changing industries require from suppliers to be just as rapid in adjusting with the request of special materials and maintaining costs convenient.
With an eye on the market and a costumer-centered approach, STEELTRADE navigates the wave of change timely to support our clients with the best-in-class materials and products to shape the energy world of today and tomorrow.