Export steel pipe supplier announces new jobs

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By Patrick Varine

The Marcellus shale industry has enabled an Export company to expand its footprint in the Pittsburgh area and add 150 jobs.

Officials of Dura-Bond — a supplier of steel pipe, protective pipe coatings and pipeline products — announced Monday plans to hire 150 workers at the company’s Steelton facility to fill an order for more than 500 miles of coated steel pipeline for Dominion gas company.

Dominion awarded the roughly $400 million job to Dura-Bond last month as it moves forward with plans for a 550-mile natural gas pipeline to bring energy to Virginia and North Carolina.

Dura-Bond Commercial Vice President Jason Norris said having the shale gas industry on Pittsburgh’s doorstep has enabled the company to grow. This week’s expansion comes after a 2012 project that added 80 jobs to staff a Dura-Bond pipe-coating mill in Duquesne.

“The Marcellus shale changed the whole market for us,” Norris said. “This area went from a place where a lot of pipe was consumed, with drilling done years ago, to a time when most of that shifted to Texas and (the West). Bringing the Marcellus (shale) online brought a lot of business back to this region.”

Without the shale industry, Norris said, Dura-Bond would be facing an uphill battle, particularly with the 2014 closing of the U.S. Steel plant in McKeesport, which was a reliable customer for the 24-inch large-diameter steel pipe Dura-Bond produces at its Steelton facility.

Norris said he hopes the 150 jobs announced Monday will be permanent.

“That all depends on how the energy industry goes,” he said. “If it’s less attractive in the future to explore energy in Pennsylvania, then these jobs will be done. But we’re hoping to make the cycle permanent. That’s certainly what we’re in business for.”

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