By ED RUNYAN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BROOKFIELD — Pipe manufacturer TMK IPSCO, parent company of Ultra Premium Oilfield Services, confirmed Tuesday that it has signed a lease for the former Sharon Tube facility on Parkway Drive, off Collar Price Road, and will begin production of steel-tube connections sometime in April.
The company has begun to advertise for workers and expects to employ 50 this year and will expand to 120 if business warrants, said Ray Rarey, vice president and chief human-resources officer for TMK IPSCO, which is based in Downer’s Grove, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
The factory will produce connections that attach steel pipes used in the gas-exploration industry, Rarey said. Over the next couple of months, Ultra Premium will install machinery and hire and train employees, he added.
TMK IPSCO is the parent company of Koppel Tubular Corp., which has operations in Beaver County, Pa., including a melt shop and tube-finishing facility in Koppel, Pa., just south of Ellwood City, and a seamless tube-making and finishing plant 20 miles south in Ambridge.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the Job Creation Tax Credit worth $872,000 over nine years Monday to help encourage the company to locate in Ohio. Ultra Premium will invest $10 million at the plant, including $9 million in equipment and $1 million for the building.
“The Brookfield, Ohio, facility was chosen in part because of the location, local industrial infrastructure, the economics and the support of local and state governments, the business-development authorities and local chamber of commerce,” said Piotr Galitzine, TMK IPSCO’s chairman.
“As a company, we go where our customers need us, and the Brookfield, Ohio, facility is in direct response to the growing need for infrastructure within the Marcellus Shale and for full-service premium and API threading field service and threaded accessories to be located in close proximity to our customers’ well sites,” said Vicki Avril, TMK IPSCO’s president and CEO.
Rarey said the Marcellus Shale is an area under eastern Ohio, much of Pennsylvania and nearby states where it is believed natural gas can be mined using new technology and smaller-diameter pipes.
It was this same opportunity that was cited by V&M Star Steel last week when it announced a $650 million expansion of its steel-tube manufacturing facility on Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Scott Barnes, TMK IPSCO vice president and chief commercial officer, added, “TMK IPSCO has seen remarkable growth in its Ultra Premium Connection product line and has become one of the largest manufacturers of premium connections in North America.”
TMK IPSCO operates in North America as a division of TMK, the largest pipe producer in Russia and one of the three global-market leaders, according to PR Newswire.
TMK IPSCO operates one steel mill and nine pipe mills and product-finishing facilities in seven states in the U.S. TMK IPSCO’s pipe mills produce seamless and welded energy-tubular products including oil- and gas-well casing and tubing, line pipe, drill pipe, standard pipe and hollow structural sections.
TMK IPSCO also manufactures premium connections for oil and natural-gas drilling and production under the Ultra brand name.
TMK operates 21 production sites in Russia, the United States, Romania and Kazakhstan. In 2009, TMK shipped 2.8 million tons of pipe products and supplied companies in more than 65 countries.