Global oilfield services operator Tenaris SA plans to invest an estimated $1.5 billion in the United States to expand onshore and offshore services, the company said Thursday.

The expansion is to include a state-of-the-art seamless pipe mill, as well as heat treatment and premium threading facilities, according to the company, which is headquartered in Luxembourg. The mill is scheduled to begin operating in 2016 with an annual production capacity of 650,000 tons of pipeline and would be integrated with the company's U.S. manufacturing and service operations.

"U.S. market demand for high-quality OCTG [oil country tubular goods] and line pipe products is growing rapidly due to the development of unconventional...oil and gas reserves and the resumption of deepwater drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico," the company said. "The new investment plan will strengthen Tenaris' local production and service capabilities, allowing it to reduce lead times and serve its U.S. customers with a full range of locally manufactured seamless, welded and premium products, in a market where imported products account for over half of total consumption."

In late May Tenaris said it would install its first North American full-scale production line for its proprietary "dopeless" technology in Houston at its McCarty facility, which has been in operation for about a year. The dry coating technology process is applied to steel pipe connections for onshore and offshore systems and it makes threading compounds obsolete, according to Tenaris. The $11 million line is scheduled to be operating in July.

Tenaris made its first big entry into North America's oilfield services market in 2006 when it purchased Maverick Tube Corp. and again in 2007 with the purchase of Hydril. In the annual PFC Energy 50 ranking for 2011 Tenaris was listed as the fourth largest service sector company after Schlumberger Ltd., Halliburton Co. and National Oilwell Varco Inc. (see Daily GPI, Jan. 24).

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