Metals and industrial group, Liberty House, has completed the purchase of two pipe mills at Hartlepool from Tata Steel UK, furthering its goal of becoming a key player in global oil & gas market.
Liberty House has announced that it intends to rebuild the previously struggling operation at Hartlepool – adding around 100 new jobs to the existing 140-strong workforce – and to position the group in the vanguard of the 50-million tonne a year global oil & gas pipe market.
The group aims to supply the 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 reportedly have a combined capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year.
Executive chairman of the Liberty House Group, Sanjeev Gupta explained: “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.”
In the course of the acquisition, James Annal has been appointed chief executive of Liberty Pipe. He is an experienced leader in the global steel industry’s pipe sector, having been chief executive of tubular products across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia for ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company.
The addition of the Hartlepool pipe mills brings Liberty’s UK workforce to nearly 5,500 people spread across more than 30 sites, making it one of Britain’s largest industrial employers.
Under the planned agreement, the neighbouring 20-inch mill, which makes high frequency induction (HFI) pipe, is expected to 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.