Company restarting U.S. Steel McKeesport mill says workers needed
January 12, 2017 3:08 PM
A 2014 photo of the U.S. Steel McKeesport Tubular Operations facility.
By Len Boselovic / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Dura-Bond Industries has purchased equipment from U.S. Steel’s idled McKeesport plant and hopes to begin producing tubular products primarily for the energy industry within six to nine months, the president of the Export-based company said Thursday.
Jason Norris said at least 100 workers will be needed to restart the plant, which was idled by U.S. Steel in 2014.
He declined to say how much Dura-Bond paid for the equipment.
“Our focus is going to be a domestic mill using domestic feedstock,” Mr. Norris said.
The plant’s pipe will be made from flat roll steel provided by U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal’s domestic mills and other U.S. suppliers, he said.
U.S. Steel declined to comment on the sale of the equipment. About 175 workers lost their jobs when the steelmaker idled the plant nearly three years ago.
Privately owned Dura-Bond operates pipe coating operations in Duquesne and McKeesport, as well as an Export plant that fabricates steel for the marine and heavy highway markets. Those operations employ about 140, Mr. Norris said.
The company also operates Bethlehem Steel’s former pipe plant in Steelton, Dauphin County.
Mr. Norris said the company employs about 550.
The McKeesport plant, which makes smaller diameter pipe, will complement the Steelton plant, which makes pipe that is 22 to 44 inches in diameter, Mr. Norris said. It will also provide more stability for the Duquesne coating plant.
“Without being next to a producing mill, the future of that mill is limited,” he said.
Mr. Norris estimated it will take six to nine months to hire workers, obtain a license from the American Petroleum Institute to make pipe, and prove to customers that it is capable of meeting their standards.
Dura-Bond is leasing the 317,000-square foot plant from the Regional Industrial Development Corp., which owns the property. Mr. Norris expects to purchase the real estate once an environmental study is completed.
U.S. Steel idled the McKeesport mill because of the downturn in the oil and gas industry and a crush of cheap imports from overseas producers. Mr. Norris said more than half of the oil and gas pipe used domestically is imported.
“We feel that is going to change because it has to change,” he said. “There is renewed optimism in the country for domestic manufacturing.”
Len Boselovic: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1941.
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