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TMK Sees Pipe Demand ‘Solid’ in 2012, Billionaire Chairman Says

OAO TMK (TMKS), the world’s largest pipemaker by output, sees “solid” demand for steel pipes this year driven by high oil prices and shale-gas projects in the U.S., billionaire Chairman Dmitry Pumpyansky said.

“In the absence of macroeconomic shocks, we expect solid orders for most of 2012,” Pumpyansky said in an interview yesterday in Davos, Switzerland. TMK shipped a record 4.2 million metric tons of pipes last year and expects about the same this year, said the billionaire, who owns almost 70 percent of TMK.

Demand for large-diameter pipes in Russia may slow as OAO Gazprom (GAZP) hasn’t yet agreed on building a gas pipeline to China, Pumpyansky said. Gazprom is more likely to start accepting bids for materials for the South Stream or Shtokman projects as early as this year, he said. The decline will be offset by growing demand in the oil industry.

The pipemaker’s TMK-IPSCO unit in the U.S., where shale gas output has raised demand, accounts for almost 30 percent of revenue and shipments, Pumpyansky said. TMK is developing more expensive and technologically advanced products, including premium connections for pipes, and expanding into new markets, he said. TMK shipped its pipes to a record 80 countries last year, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Davos, Switzerland at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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