Good timing and persistence pay off for pipe maker Tenaris



Tenaris, which makes piping and steel for oil and gas wells, is perhaps a bit of both – as well as brave.

The Argentinian company began building a $1.8 billion oil and gas pipe mill near Houston when oil prices were booming and then opted to press ahead during the bust. Now the anticipated opening of the state-of-the-art plant in September coincides with the resurgence in onshore oil and gas drilling in Oklahoma and Texas, particularly in the Permian Basin.

“The timing is perfect even beyond our expectations,” Tenaris CEO Paolo Rocca said in an interview last week.

Tenaris is hiring to finish staffing the Bay City mill, which will employ 600. The workforce is smaller than those of older mills because the plant incorporates more automation, using robots to move steel from one station to the next as the seamless piping is manufactured.

Tenaris was founded in Italy by Rocca’s grandfather and later moved its main operations to Argentina. It’s formally headquartered in Luxembourg for tax purposes. But that’s not how Rocca describes it in Houston.