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Houston Area Pipe Plant Credits New Steel Tariffs For Reopening

A steel pipe mill in Conroe will reopen this year, and the company says it’s in part thanks to President Donald Trump’s new tariffs on foreign steel

Tenaris manufactures steel pipes for the oil and gas industry

Tenaris’ Conroe plant largely shut down three years ago, blaming the oil downturn and record levels of “unfairly traded imports.”

About 230 workers were laid off.

Now with the price of oil around $70 and new steel tariffs, the company said it will reactivate most of the plant by September.

Luca Zanotti, president of Tenaris’ U.S. operations, said they also use imported steel, for which they now have to pay 25 percent in duties. But the tariffs create new demand for their domestic product.

“We’re not buying any steel which is not either domestic or we’re transferring bars, which is the raw material that is being used in our mill here, from our other mills around the world,” Zanotti said.

Tenaris plans to hire more than 100 new employees at the Conroe plant and add another 150 workers at its seamless pipe mill in Bay City and its threading facility in Houston to support the increased production activity.

Other pipe manufacturing companies are not so happy about the new tariffs.

Borusan Mannesmann, which has a plant in Baytown, has said the new tariffs have already cost the company $2.5 million. It has asked the Trump administration for an exemption.

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters and the Houston Press Club. Florian is a native of Germany. His studies...

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