March 15, 2011 11:09 ET

US Pipe Demand to Reach $38 Billion in 2015

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - March 15, 2011) - has announced the addition of Freedonia Group Inc's new report "Plastic & Competitive Pipe" to their collection of Construction market reports. For more information, visit

US demand for pipe is forecast to advance 6.6 percent per year to $38.6 billion in 2015. Gains will represent a substantial turnaround from the declines of the 2005-2010 period, in which pipe demand was hampered by an economic recession and a sharp drop in building construction spending. Going forward, however, strong increases in pipe demand will be fueled by a number of factors, including a rebound in construction activity, an improved outlook for state and municipal infrastructure spending, increase in oil and gas exploration and transmission activity, and the continued need to replace and repair the country's aging water pipe networks.

Plastic pipe will be the fastest-growing pipe material through 2015, continuing to steadily take share from competing materials in a range of markets. Rising demand for plastic pipe will be driven by resin improvements that enhance pipe performance in more demanding environments, while processing improvements will allow plastic pipe to be more cost effective compared to other materials. PVC will remain the leading resin used in plastic pipe through 2015, due to its dominant position in small-diameter applications such as potable water distribution, sanitary sewer and agricultural markets. While PVC demand declined considerably during the 2005-2010 period, the expected recovery in building construction activity will fuel gains of more than nine percent annually through 2015. HDPE pipe, however, has the best long-term growth prospects among major plastic pipe resins. HDPE will continue to gain ground on concrete, steel, PVC and other competing pipe materials, particularly in drainage, storm sewer and water distribution markets.

Steel pipe will remain the leading pipe material in the US through 2015, accounting for 44 percent of the market in value terms. Steel pipe will continue to be the dominant product used in the large natural gas and oil market, while retaining strong positions in applications such as storm sewer and industrial processing pipe. However, steel pipe demand will rise at a pace well below the overall average, restrained by a high degree of market maturity and competition from plastic pipe. Better prospects are forecast for concrete and ductile iron pipe, which hold a commanding share of the large diameter sewer, drainage and water transmission markets. Copper pipe and tube will also see above-average gains in demand, benefiting from a rebound in building construction and the production of refrigeration and HVAC equipment.

Gas and oil pipe will remain the largest market through 2015. However, more rapid demand growth is expected for pipe in potable water; drain, waste and vent; and conduit outlets. These three markets are closely tied to building construction activity, and a bounce back in construction spending from a low 2010 base will drive strong advances in pipe demand. More sluggish gains are expected for industrial processing, irrigation, and structural and mechanical applications, which are associated with the slower growing manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

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