Liberty House is targeting the global oil and gas pipeline sector after completing the purchase of two pipe mills in Hartlepool from Tata Steel UK.
Liberty said it will rebuild the operation at Hartlepool – adding around 100 new jobs to the existing 140-strong workforce – to position it at the forefront of the 50m tonne a year global oil and gas pipe market.
The Group aims to supply 84”and 42” longitudinal submerged arc welded (LSAW) mills at Hartlepool with steel from its plate facilities in Scotland where it plans to develop capability to make heavy duty API grade steel used in the energy industry. The pipe mills have a combined capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year.
Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the Liberty House Group said: “This is an important first step in our ambition to become a world leader in energy pipe and we are already looking at plants in other countries.
“The acquisition of this high-calibre business and its skilled workforce gives us the basis to upgrade the liquid steel production facilities we’re buying at Whyalla, South Australia and our plate mills at Dalzell and Clydebridge in Scotland to make high-value-added API grade plates that can be rolled at Hartlepool to supply pipeline projects worldwide.
“This fully-integrated value chain will make us a world leader in this field and help showcase Britain’s engineering prowess in supplying a world-class highly-engineered product.”
Business Minister Lord Prior said: “This investment further demonstrates confidence in the UK economy and in our Industrial Strategy.”
The addition of the Hartlepool pipe mills brings Liberty’s UK workforce to nearly 5,500 people spread across more than 30 sites.
Under the planned agreement, the neighbouring 20-inch mill, which makes high frequency induction (HFI) pipe, would remain in the ownership of Tata Steel UK as it is linked to the company’s strip products business centred on steelmaking in Port Talbot.