December 2016, Vol. 243, No. 12


AMI Study Illustrates Growth of Steel Coatings

Special to Pipeline & Gas Journal
Distribution of market value by coating application (2015)

The 4th edition of AMI’s study, “Steel Pipe Coating – the Global Market,” was completed earlier this year. The report is the outcome of several months of intensive market research and analysis, focused on the pipe coating industry and its associated supply chain – from manufacturers of equipment and raw materials to pipe coaters, to pipeline users and operators.

Based on that research, AMI calculated that in 2015 this industry supplied circa USD 7.2 billion worth of pipe coating – a value that does not include the pipes themselves, nor does it take into account other services supplied by pipe coating companies (such as logistic services, etc.)

Volume-wise, 2015 was a lean year for this industry – but those results look much less disappointing when assessed against a background of very challenging circumstances. In a paper presented at AMI’s Field Joint Coating 2015 conference, Noru Tsalic described the political and economic environment affecting oil and gas-related industries as “a perfect storm.”

As mentioned at the time, it is not unusual for these industries to face crises in some of the geographic areas in which they operate. In recent years, however, such adverse political and economic circumstances have piled up, affecting practically all regions that are relevant in terms of oil and gas supply and demand.

That’s not to say that pipeline building and pipe coating activities have completely frozen. To start with, numerous projects are still economically viable; others are too advanced to cancel or postpone. In certain countries (not in the least in China, Russia and the Middle East), such projects are not driven by purely financial considerations, but are part of longer-term policy and government-set strategies.

In addition, given their age and the fast progress of technology, some pipelines are in need of rehabilitation or replacement – for safety, rather than purely economic reasons. There is also an expanding share of non-oil and gas pipelines – in particular drinking water pipelines – which is already considerable in places like India, for example.

In addition to analysing the current level of demand, segmenting it by geography, application, on/offshore location, coating functionality (external anti-corrosion, internal by function, thermal insulation and concrete by function) and material, the steel pipe coating report focuses on forecasting demand to 2019.

Despite the “perfect storm” that recently affected it, the fundamentals remain positive for the pipe coating industry. The world’s demand for energy continues to grow; oil and gas continue to provide a large share of primary energy supply and the demand for these fossil fuels continues to grow, despite increasing adoption of renewable and other sources; in fact, countries will have to progressively switch from coal to the relatively less polluting oil and (especially) natural gas, if they are to fulfill their commitments in terms of reducing CO2 emissions.

The global reserves of oil and gas are still far from exhaustion; carbon steel pipelines continue to be, in most cases, the state-of-the-art solution for cheap, safe and secure gathering, short/medium range transport and high pressure distribution of oil and gas; and functional coatings are increasingly deployed to serve those pipelines.

After analysing trends (including forecasts for the price of crude oil), the report concludes that demand for steel pipe coating should grow on average by circa 3% per annum between 2015-19. However, the growth is unevenly distributed across that time interval and also geographically and in terms of coating types and materials.

For more information on the study, contact Sarah Phillip at


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