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09-30-2014

New Study on the European Market for Pipes

Large-scale pipeline products are not only interesting for international politics, but also the industrial sector. Market research institute Ceresana scrutinized the European market for pipes from top to bottom: The experts expect demand for these products to rise to more than 51 million tonnes in 2021. Pipes are comparatively safe and environmentally friendly ways of transport and play an important role for supply and discharge in many sectors.

In order to reduce dependence on transit countries such as Belarus and the Ukraine, the intercontinental gas pipeline "South Stream" is intended to run from Russia through the Black Sea to Austria. In Russia, construction of this pipeline longer than 1,000 kilometers has already begun; further continuation towards Western Europe is, however, still contested in Bulgaria. The "North Stream" pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, skirting Poland, was in inaugurated in 2011 already. Starting from this pipeline, secondary pipelines are built towards important consumer locations, for example chemical industry parks. Various European countries plan to build a "Trans Adriatic Pipeline" form Turkey to Italy as an alternative to the aborted "Nabucco" pipeline from Turkey to Austria. Thus, the oil and gas segment is likely to be the largest growth market for pipes.

Easter Europe Growing, Western Europe Stagnating

Major consumer of pipes in Europe is Russia. The construction of new pipelines in this country will continue to generate high demand in upcoming years. As a result of raw material sales, Russia is also able to invest larger sums than other European countries in the supply networks in order to connect remote areas to the potable and waste water supplies as well. Demand for pipes in Eastern European countries will increase by about 2% p.a. in the next eight years.

Consumption of pipes in Western Europe, on the other hand, is almost stagnating. Despite the potable and waste water networks being in need of refurbishment in many countries, investments in this sector have often been postponed due to the debt and financial crisis, or were cancelled completely. In Mediterranean countries in particular the situation is aggravated by a weak economic situation, so that the private sector can provide only limited impulses. The markets in Northern Europe are largely saturated.

Steel Still Dominating

More than half of all pipes consumed in Europe are made from steel. Heavy steel pipes are mainly used in the oil and gas segment, but are also found in the industrial sector, for example plant and machine construction. In the future, however, plastic pipes, being much lighter and cheaper in production, will gain the largest amount of market shares. In regard to distance covered, plastic pipe already account for a significant share of the market for pipes. Compared to concrete pipes, which are usually substituted for other materials, plastics pipes can be replaced much quicker when damaged or worn out. Regarding output of plastic and metal pipes, Germany is the largest producer.

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