Tenaris has built a strong reputation as a high-end technology manufacturer in China, where it will celebrate 15 years at its facility in Qingdao. At the helm of its operations in China is Philix Liu Jinghua – the company’s managing director. Jinghua has been with Tenaris for 17 years; starting with Tenaris in China as a sales engineer and over the years he took on different roles, including a stint in the USA, before he returned to China in 2016 to assume his current role. In a Q&A focused on the future of its operations, Jinghua discusses new projects, including the company’s new joint venture, TenarisBaogang, with its OCTG threading facility to produce premium products in Baotou, China.
How will TenarisBaogang become a game-changer for Tenaris?
With TenarisBaogang, we will threading premium connections on locally produced plain-end OCTG pipe supplied by our partners. This will allow us to grow and enter the mainstream market of Chinese local steel pipe producers. This is a new area for the company and we’ll be close to our customers and will be able to serve them from this new facility, which will have advanced technologies and equipment.
What will the growth and expansion that comes with the joint venture look like?
We are now in the process of hiring local people, especially young professionals, in Baotou with the aim of having a predominantly local workforce. This approach is aligned with our global strategy: we take pride in being local, while maintaining our international identity.
How are Tenaris’s operations in China contributing to the company’s 2030 decarbonization targets?
We are taking all possible actions to reduce our carbon emissions. For example, we are replacing our indoor diesel forklifts with electric ones. With TenarisBaogang, we are prioritizing the purchase of more eco-friendly technology, and our partner in the venture, Boagang, a steel producer, is evaluating the adoption of hydrogen-based technologies versus gas for its steelmaking process to contribute to our decarbonization targets. We are also exploring business opportunities in cylinders for hydrogen storage.
Tenaris celebrates two milestones in China this year, how do these events feed into the evolution of the company in the country?
2021 marks the 15th anniversary of Tenaris’s OCTG threading facility in Qingdao and the fifth anniversary of the automotive components center, which has just undergone an expansion. The two events, coupled with the projected startup of our joint venture, underscore our plans for the continued growth of our industrial system in the country, reaching new segments of the market with our expertise in technology and in services with our Rig Direct® platform. We are also strengthening partnerships in our communities, now in Baotou, something paramount to Tenaris’s culture around the world.
Is there a particular highlight of note during these 15 years in China?
The introduction of Rig Direct® services was significant. In 2018, Tenaris and Shell China signed an agreement for the supply of OCTG products via our Rig Direct® model. In this framework, we established our service center in Yulin to provide Rig Direct® services. Tenaris has since been supporting Shell’s drilling and completion activities for its onshore Changbei II Phase I tight gas project, located in Yulin of Shanxi Province. This has been a major milestone and we are proud to serve this customer.