Drilling Down

TMK Spokesman: No Plans to Close Plant

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BROOKFIELD, Ohio – A spokesman for TMK IPSCO confirms the company has apprised employees at its threading operation here of potential layoffs, but emphasized that it has no intentions of closing the mill.

“We have no plans to close the plant,” TMK spokesman Roger Bentley told The Business Journal. “We did send WARN notices to 106 employees.”

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN, requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoffs.

Bentley says that the downturn in the oil and gas industry has caused many manufacturers that supply this market to cut back. TMK IPSCO, a pipe and tube manufacturer whose parent is OAO TMK, Russia’s largest manufacturer of steel pipe, opened its Brookfield threading plant in 2010.

“This is related to the low oil prices, which has contributed to a substantial reduction in drilling activities,” he said. The domestic industry has also been clobbered by a flood of low-priced imports, which he said undercuts domestic manufacturers.

Major manufacturers of oil country tubular goods, or OCTG, pipe have been hit hard by the downturn. Pipe manufacturer Vallourec Star announced last year that it would place more workers on layoff at its Youngstown complex, while Exterran, a company that fabricates components for the oil and gas processing industry, announced it would close its Youngstown plant in March.

The Brookfield plant manufactures connections for TMK’s pipe, which is produced in Koppel and Ambridge, Pa.

“We’re going through the WARN process now,” Bentley said. The notifications were directed to layoffs and not a plant closing, he clarified. “We are hopeful orders will increase.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.