Pipe Products & Markets

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Pipe

Through 2026, demand for pipe products in the US is forecast to increase 2.2% per year to $57.9 billion, equivalent to 12.9 billion linear feet. Growth in value terms is projected to decelerate significantly due mostly to the expectation that average prices of plastic and metal pipe will moderate going forward. However, volume gains will be driven by:

  • a rebound in oil and gas drilling activity
  • increasing water and sewer construction
  • healthy growth in transportation equipment manufacturing
  • rising production of air conditioners and refrigerators, particularly larger and higher end models that require more tubing

Major Spike in PVC, Steel, & Copper Prices in 2021 Leads to Record Year in Value Terms

In 2021, average prices of PVC, steel, and copper pipe spiked 38%, 48%, and 49%, respectively. The significant increase in prices was due to a number of factors including:

  • major increases in raw material prices, as inflation reaches the highest levels in the US in over 40 years
  • significant supply chain issues and shortages

These price increases led to a massive spike in value demand in 2021 that was boosted by a return to growth in pipe usage. In linear feet terms, demand accelerated from a nearly flat 2020, as the oil and gas drilling, industrial processing, and structural and mechanical markets rebounded due to rising gas prices and increasing durable goods production.

Oil & Gas Market Rebound to Support Growth

The oil and gas market is expected to be the fastest growing pipe market, supported by a significant rebound in the number of wells drilled in the US as oil and natural gas prices increase from very low levels in 2020 and early 2021. Oil and gas drilling activity has increased significantly in 2022, as international production has not been able to keep up with demand and sanctions against Russia have limited the supply of available oil, causing prices to increase at a rapid pace.

HDPE & PEX Continue to Gain Market Share

Demand for HDPE and PEX pipe is expected to grow rapidly due to a number of performance advantages enabled by the flexibility of these materials. HDPE will find the greatest sales opportunities in the storm and sanitary sewer market, while PEX will continue to gain share in potable water distribution:

  • HDPE’s flexibility makes it well suited for trenchless installation methods such as slip lining and horizontal directional drilling.
  • PEX’s flexibility also facilitates installation in the water distribution market, as it can be bent around obstacles and cut easily.

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