Vallourec Star Plans Three-Week Shutdown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Vallourec Star announced this morning that it plans to shut down its pipe and tube operations here for a three-week period effective in mid-February.

The company, which manufactures oil country tubular goods, or OCTG, pipe for the oil and gas industry, took the measure because of the declining oil and gas market.

“In response to the declining oil and gas market, Vallourec Star continues to adapt our operating plans to business demands,” the company said in a statement. “The economic realities we are facing require additional action.”

Vallourec said that conditions have reached a point where “some employees will be affected. This is unfortunate but cannot be avoided.”

The company, which in 2012 opened a $1 billion pipe mill in Youngstown, said it would also offer a six-month voluntary layoff period for interested employees. “This is strictly voluntary, health-care coverage will continue through the six-month period,” Vallourec said.

Employees have the option of scheduling vacation, taking paid time off or filing for unemployment during the three-week shutdown and health-care benefits will continue through the shutdown. Employees will return to work after the blackout period, the company said.

“We are carefully monitoring market developments and will continue to adapt quickly to this unstable business environment,” Vallourec’s statement said.

Last month, U.S. Steel announced it would idle its Lorain pipe and tube operations in the face of plummeting oil prices

Oil prices have nosedived from $105 a barrel to $45 per barrel since the summer. This has caused energy companies to pull back drilling and exploration, affecting manufacturers such as Vallourec, which supplies drill casings and pipe to the oil and gas industry.

Copyright 2015 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

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