An order for more than 1 million feet of 36-inch pipe for use on the Keystone XL pipeline project will keep around 500 Welspun manufacturing employees in Little Rock busy through “at least” early 2021, Welspun announced Thursday.
The company did not disclose the value of the TC Energy order.
Welspun, a pipe manufacturing company based in India, said a contract with Calgary, Alberta Canada-based TC Energy – formerly known as TransCanada – will be supplied from its operation at the port of Little Rock which opened in 2008. Between 2014 and 2016 Welspun slowed production and laid off hundreds of Little Rock employees in response to the slowdown in the energy sector and an executive order by former President Barack Obama that shut down the Keystone project.
In late January 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order approving the restart of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Prior to 2017, Welspun had manufactured enough pipe for 700 miles of the project. At its peak, Welspun’s large pipe production operation in Little Rock had more than 800 employees.
Keystone is a more than 1,200-mile pipeline expected to deliver 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta, to Steele City, Neb., where it will connect with TC Energy’s existing facilities to reach U.S. Gulf Coast refiners. TC Energy announced in March it would continue work on the pipeline and invest about $8 billion in its completion. The pipeline is expected to be operational in 2023.
“This new order will allow us to operate our Welspun Large Diameter Pipe Mill and continue to provide direct jobs for over 500 workers in Little Rock, Arkansas,” Rusty Fisher, president of the Americas for Welspun, said in a statement. “Further it is said that for every job at Welspun another four jobs for workers are created in the Little Rock area economy.”
Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston praised the news.
“For more than 10 years, Welspun has been a strong business partner for our state, creating hundreds of jobs for Arkansans,” Preston said in a statement. “The Keystone XL project is a great fit for the company and will strengthen our energy infrastructure while also benefitting our economy. This is good news for Arkansas.”
Welspun is active in more than 50 countries and has more than 26,000 employees. TC Energy (NYSE: TRP) is active in Canada, Mexico, the United States, and employs more than 7,300 people.