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Spanish steel processor Gonvarri Steel Services has announced plans to build its very first U.S. plant in Union County, S.C., with an initial $35 million investment. The plant is being created with the purpose of supplying Gonvarri’s Madrid-based parent company Gestamp Corp., maker of automotive components and equipment for renewable energy, which also has a plant in Union County.

The facility will have the capacity to process 100,000 tons of flat-rolled steel, and the initial $35M investment is expected to generate up to 40 new jobs. A planned future investment of $15 million will help to create 25 more jobs in the next decade.

With the creation of this newest plant, Gonvarri will have 24 service centers across 13 countries. The company is already extremely successful, with 2011 reported earnings exceeding $2.6 billion, and reported processing totaling 3.2 million tons of steel.

Chief executive officer Josu Calvo said the new facility “consolidates the internationalization process of the company….. reinforcing our company as a multinational leader in steel service centers, particularly in the automotive business.” (American Metals Market)  The new plant is expected to be operational in July 2013.

A recent article published in MetalCenterNews.com (7/11/12) by editor-in-Chief Tim Triplett offered some insight into both the manufacturing sector and the spending habits of consumers this year. According to current economic outlook, manufacturing is expected to carry the day – and ultimately the year – as consumers continue to hold onto their income despite incentives to spend.

In fact, according to the University of Michigan, consumer sentiment continues to hover near its all-time low. Survey Director Richard Curtin explained that the problem has to do with the way government looks at the future, vs. the way consumers do. While government tends to take a more short-term view of the economy and plan their stimulus accordingly, consumers are now taking a more long-term view, seeing the current recession not as a temporary inconvenience but rather as a possibly permanent downturn. As Metal Center News reports in its recent interview with Curtin:

Asked about their financial prospects for the year ahead, just one in five households anticipated any improvement. “The financial optimism that has been the hallmark of American consumers has disappeared in the past four years due to bleak income and job expectations,” Curtin said.

Consumers nowadays are also more cautious about where they put their faith – and they have in large part lost faith in the government and its fiscal policies. Jobs losses remain a hot topic, and while the government can point out the 2.2M jobs created in the past couple of years, consumers are more inclined to focus on the 6.5M jobs lost. The overall mindset points to saving, rather than spending, and it doesn’t look like it will change in the coming months -or possibly even in the coming years.

Given these disappointing consumer sentiments, it appears that manufacturing is once again leading the way this year, hopefully adding slight improvements to the economy by the end of 2012.

Read MetalCenterNews.com’s article by By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief:

Manufacturing, Not Consumers, Likely to Continue Leading the Way

Conventional oil reserves are becoming more and more unsteady, and the world has finite hydrocarbon resources. With the odds stacked against maintaining oil levels through traditional methods, alternative means of finding and procuring oil are being considered.

New oil reservoirs are consistently being discovered in deep and ultra deep waters across the world, and these discoveries are providing medium-term answers to declining production from traditional methods of getting oil and gas. According to a recent study by ASDReports, this year the global capital expenditure in subsea production & processing systems infrastructure will be $8.89bn.

According to the study:

Exploration and production companies are investing heavily in offshore development projects. Most offshore projects in water depths beyond 200-300 metres benefit from subsea production and processing systems to lift hydrocarbons to the surface. As a greater share of oil and gas is supplied from deeper water depths, investment in subsea production and processing systems will grow larger over the next ten years.

While up until the 1970s there were few commercial gas and oil facilities producing from deepwater reservoirs, ongoing innovations in the way of multiphase pumps, subsea oil/water/gas/sand separation unites and wellhead systems has helped the system evolve to overcome earlier obstacles. Larger companies are now able to produce hydrocarbons even from the most challenging of environments, such as harsh or sensitive climates. Industry professionals are hopeful that with continued development, subsea production and processing systems will be a more safe and environmentally sustainable method of gathering hydrocarbons.