Oman steels itself for growth

Steel-tube demand in the Gulf is on track for 2008 levels

Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting 2013 is a first-of-its-kind industry expo dedicated to welding machinery and technology.
Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting 2013 is a first-of-its-kind industry expo dedicated to welding machinery and technology.


Steel-tube demand in the Gulf is on track for 2008 levels after a three-year decline, with Oman playing a leading role in this resurgence. CW looks more closely at the steel-tube sector

Demand for steel tube in the Gulf this year is set to return to the 2008 boom scenario after three years of slowdown. Oman is playing a major role in this heightened demand as it consumes an increasing portion of the GCC production of steel tubes. This production had crossed 80 million tons in 2008.

Industry experts state that the high demand for steel tubes has strengthened the industrial position of the Sultanate as a production base for tubes, pipes and welding solutions and machinery, while the region is scaling up its utility projects, as well as railway networks and construction and infrastructure projects. It is estimated that the steel tube industry will see an annual double growth in Oman until 2015.

This was revealed at a recent press conference held in Muscat by Al Fajer Information & Services (AFIS), Messe Essen and Messe Dusseldorf, organisers of the Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting, Tekno Arabia and Tube Arabia ‘three-in-one’ trade exhibition.

Speakers at the press conference said that Oman’s launch of a number of steelmaking complexes have doubled the rolling capacity of steel, focused on meeting the growing domestic needs of the Omani market.

They added that pipes, tubes and welding in Oman will continue to grow, driven by increased domestic production and reduced reliance on imports. Speakers pointed out that this would further boost the importance of the three shows by attracting more companies to display their products, and increase Omani visitors looking to deploy best technologies into their operations.

Satish Khanna, GM, AFIS said: “Oman’s production of welding, cutting and laminating technologies, as well as tubes and pipes, is poised to increase with the rebound in the GCC economies, mainly fuelled by a recovery in the real-estate sector.”

Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting 2013, a first-of-its-kind industry expo dedicated to welding machinery and technology, is leveraging on the leading position of the Tekno and Tube shows, which have established themselves for more than ten years as international events for industrial machinery, metal working, machine tools, tubes and pipes.

Khanna added: “Oman is increasing its current oil field production capacities and launching new explorations, which are boosting the pipe and tube industry in the sultanate. Equally important, it is emerging as a leading metals hub and investor in the Gulf’s pipe, tube and steel industries.”

Steel tube production in Oman, as in other GCC markets, saw a global decline since 2008. All buying sectors registered sharp dips. In this context, the exploration activities of the oil and gas industry declined as a result of the falling energy consumption, along with tumbling oil and gas prices.

Key customer sectors such as mechanical engineering were also very reluctant to place orders, with the exception of the power sector which, due to long lead times, was able to continue the extension of capacities.

Khanna added: “Tekno and Tube Arabia have emerged as the largest and most important regional industry exhibitions, and adding welding to these two vibrant industries offers an integrated solution to the rapidly-growing needs of the industry.

The three exhibitions represent a significant industry component of the industrial and manufacturing stake. Construction, energy and railway industries are boosting the shows, and we feel there is great demand from international players to target these sectors.

“We are excited that Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting 2013 will be held in the GCC for the first time. The new fair is the result of successful collaboration between the fair companies in Essen and Düsseldorf and us,” said Khanna.

The three shows, to be held from 7 to 10 January 2013 at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, are regarded as a key gateway to the extremely important Gulf and Middle East markets by exhibitors from Europe, North America and Asia, according to organisers, who underscored Oman’s position in the tubes and pipes markets.

Exhibitors include manufacturers of welding equipment, consumables and accessories, as well as traders of fume extraction devices, pool monitoring systems, seam measurement and evaluation devices, automated for lattice work girders, bugles, converters and generators, filter installations, fittings, installations, welding machines, power drying furnaces, welding robots, seam identification systems, welding tables, torches, tractors, wire de-reelers and cutting and soldering technologies and solutions.

Infra Oman 2012
The second edition of the international exhibition for infrastructure and industrial projects took place from 2 to 4 October, and was inaugurated by H.E. Dr Rasheed bin Al Safi Al Huraibi, chairman of the Oman Tender Board. 

A total of 175 local and 85 international exhibitors, representing 19 countries, were present, covering an exhibition hall floor space of 3,500m2 and a 4,500m2 outside area. 
Around 30% of exhibitors said they had negotiated or were negotiating deals during the event.
Just over 80% said they had a good experience, while a similar percentage said they were satisfied with what they had gathered from the event. Around eight out of ten said they would recommend the event.

Visitor numbers over the three days totalled 4,502 from 31 countries. Three-quarters were from Oman, 16% from the GCC and 9% from the rest of the world. Around 45% were civil engineers and contractors, with the remainder comprising architects, traders, developers, electrical engineers and manufacturers.

An Al Nimr Expo spokesman said: “The response to Infra Oman 2012 has been overwhelming. Being the second edition, the show has surpassed all expectations. If past experience is any guide, then this indicates that Infra Oman 2013 will be an edition that we will be able to look forward to.”

Dr Rasheed said: “Small-and-medium-sized firms should improve their capabilities in order to win sub-contracts on major construction projects.” He added that the event gave companies a valuable insight into the latest projects and technologies in the Sultanate.

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