Evraz expanding pipe plant

Evraz Inc. NA has announced plans to expand its pipe plant north of Red Deer — a move that could create 20 jobs and increase the range of products produced there.

A front end loader takes pipe from the Evraz plant to the yard north of the city Thursday.

A front end loader takes pipe from the Evraz plant to the yard north of the city Thursday.

Evraz Inc. NA has announced plans to expand its pipe plant north of Red Deer — a move that could create 20 jobs and increase the range of products produced there.

The Portland, Ore.-based company wants to install a premium threading production line at its local facilities, as well as new tooling for finishing work on large-diameter casing.

The changes are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“It just further expands the product lines that we’re able to participate in and finish ourselves,” said Rob Simon, Evraz’s executive vice-president, tubular products.

The new production line will enable the plant to complete pipe for the steam-assisted gravity drainage market.

Oilsands companies in Northern Alberta are the primary users of such pipe, said Simon.

The large diameter casing that Evraz will be able to finish at Red Deer with its new equipment also has steam-assisted gravity drainage applications, plus others, said Jim Mitchell, vice-president sales, electric-resistance-weld products with Evraz.

Currently, said Simon, the finishing work that the Red Deer plant will be able to perform with its new equipment is being done at other Evraz facilities, or by third-party contractors.

With the expansion, pipe will remain at the local plant during the entire production process, and product from other plants will be sent there for finishing.

“What you see it’s trying to do is shift our offerings to more of the value-added products in the marketplace,” said Simon.

Although the specific staffing needs for the new production line won’t be known until the equipment is installed, it’s anticipated that as many as 20 new positions will result.

The Red Deer plant currently employs about 150.

Simon said most of the changes will occur within the plant’s existing facilities. He doesn’t think operations will be disrupted during the installation.

Evraz declined to release information about the cost of the project, citing confidentiality concerns.

In addition to Red Deer, Evraz produces tubular products at Calgary, Regina, Camrose, Portland and Pueblo, Colo. It manufactures other steel products in Surrey, B.C., and Claymont, Del.

Simon and Mitchell said the Red Deer plant was chosen for expansion because of its diverse operations and central location to markets.

Changes are also slated for Calgary, where Evraz’s pipe plant’s heat treating and inspection capabilities will be expanded.

The Red Deer plant produces line pipe and casing, the demand for which has increased with rising oil prices, said Mitchell.

Evraz Inc. NA is a subsidiary of Evraz Group S.A., a steel, mining and vanadium business with operations in Europe, South Africa and North America.

It purchased Ipsco Inc., including the Red Deer pipe plant, in 2008 from Swedish steel company SSAB.’

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com