The Prince of Pipes

Piotr Galitzine (left) and Dave Mitch of TMK IPSCO

Noah and I had the opportunity to interview the Prince of Pipes, Piotr Galitzine, last week at the American offices of TMK IPSCO, a Russian owned American company with 11 (soon 12) plants in North America.

Galitzine, a Prince who is a direct descendant of the Russian czars, was friendly and expansive as he gave us an insider’s view of the energy business where three quarters of IPSCO’s orders come from.

Piotr wore the pinched collar shirt of a European nobleman, but talked like an American CEO, with a little bit of St. Petersburg in his voice.

His father ended up in Peru where Piotr was born in 1955, then moved to New York City in the 1960s. Piotr went to a U.S. prep school and MIT and ultimately gravitated to Russia working for the German engineering goliaths, Mannesmann and BASF. Being a Russian surely helped his business career, but I can imagine the Royal blood thing annoyed some of the unreformed Communists he encountered.

When TMK bought IPSCO a couple of years ago and made Galitzine head of the company they got American capacity, but perhaps of more value was the intellectual property that they are beginning to transfer to the Russian operations. TMK announced on May 21 that they had made a shipment of casing to Gazprom, the Russian oil and gas behemoth, with ULTRA-FJJM Premium Connections developed in the U.S. but manufactured at the Orsky Machine Building Plant in Russia.

One of the first things the Prince told us as we began the 45-minute interview with him and Dave Mitch, his newly hired Chief Operating Officer who came over from U.S. Steel, was that IPSCO was bringing Six Sigma quality techniques to TMK in Russia.

According to Galitzine, the purchase of IPSCO is the largest direct investment by a Russian company in the U.S. to date. Russia means business in oil and gas, and North America is the place you want to be today.

The oil sands in Alberta, Canada, have as much recoverable oil as Saudi Arabia by some estimates. I asked Piotr where TMK IPSCO fits in with that oil, because oil sands are more a mining operation than drilling. He explained that the company provides the pipes that shoot hot steam into the rock thus making the liquids easier to extract. They also make the pipe to transport gas from Alaska to Alberta and the tubular goods to ship product out of the oil sands area. They are also building a tubular goods plant in Edmonton, Alberta, to serve that market and North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Field that is quickly becoming the biggest producer in the U.S.

The natural gas coming to the Alberta fields is vital today, but Galitzine thinks that a compact nuclear reactor or two are the long-term answer for providing power to the monster oil mines of Alberta.

The Prince feels that the United States will be a net exporter of hydrocarbons by 2020. (This explains the big fight over the Keystone Pipeline. When Keystone is approved and built, providing inexpensive access to the oil sands and North Dakota, alternative energy will have no security or balance of payments significance and therefore will become the luxury of the elites who still want to tilt at the global warming bugaboo. Thus – GAME OVER for the GREENS, and they know it. The environmentalists will scream “Keystone catastrophe!” at the top of their lungs.)

We asked Galitzine about the importance of horizontal drilling for gas and oil and whether it makes expensive deep water drilling unnecessary. He told us that the worldwide demand is insatiable and we need every source we can find. The only place where net production is rising today is North America, though that will change when the giant Brazilian finds start pumping.

The next big thing, according to Galitzine, is LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). He says by 2015 the U.S. will be exporting LNG in gigantic tankers. I thought the logical place to sell American LNG was to Japan, which just shut off its last nuclear reactor. Galitzine feels differently. Because of the huge shale gas fields in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York, he thinks the big customer will be the United Kingdom. Any way you look at the hydrocarbons today it appears ugly for the coal mines. Coal usage is dropping dramatically in North America. I think Warren Buffet may have muffed it when he bought Burlington Northern Railroad for $27 billion, because a big piece of its business is shipping coal from Montana to the power plants of the Midwest and Eastern U.S.

IPSCO is completing a $17 million tubular goods facility in Odessa, Texas, a fitting place for a Russian-American firm to invest. Though the Prince has lived in America much of his life, he hadn’t heard of the wonderful film and TV show “Friday Night Lights” about life and football in Midland-Odessa, Texas. But I imagine Prince Piotr Galitzine, the astute businessman of the world he is, checked it out on the Internet after we left.

Question: Do you worry about global warming?

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16 thoughts on “The Prince of Pipes

  1. Josh

    Yes I worry about global warming because I will take the word of 99% of the scientific community over those who are bought and paid for by the industries that have the most to lose from necessary regulations. I think the fact that global warming has been turned into a partisan debate instead of a scientific one is an even more dangerous debacle as now people are just rooting for their team instead of looking at hard science. Say what you will but CO2 levels in the atmosphere DO effect our climate and humans DO release huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    This may not even be the first time anthropogenic factors have contributed to climate change either. One of the theories behind the little ice age that occurred in and around the 1700’s goes so far as to suggest that the dramatic reduction in native peoples of the America’s due to plague actually contributed to the cold period. Estimates project between 20 and 100 million Native Americans were present at the time of “discovery.” That population was reduced by about 90% over the next couple hundred years having a dramatic effect on the environment. Despite what cultural bias may tell us the Native Americans were a very industrious people who cleared vast swaths of trees and forest to create and manage their communities. When there population disappeared there was so much new and ill maintained foliage that there was actually a reduction in atmospheric CO2 levels due to the plant consumption.

    Now, I’m not a Stanford environmental scientist and I don’t have the knowledge to fact check them or their theories, but neither do political pundits and politicians and that’s why we shouldn’t take our queues on global warming from them on EITHER side of the political spectrum. Science isn’t political, it’s science, it either is or it isn’t. The evidence for anthropogenic climate change is there, the evidence that we’ve had an effect on the climate in the past is there. The vast majority of the scientific community is in agreement and it is more than a “bugaboo” if you will and I think it’s wrong to dismiss it.

    Beyond that, regardless of where you stand politically or whether or not you believe humans are responsible for global warming you can’t deny that the climate IS changing. Why would we as a species not try to fix a problem that could effect us on a global scale? If we can make a difference, if we can reduce pollution and possible prevent calamity why wouldn’t we? That’s what we DO, especially as Americans. We FIX problems, even if we aren’t the root cause. Are we really willing to throw that away for some extra profit? There are some things more valuable than an extra buck.

  2. Jim Goerges

    No. I worry about the Government Elites and there scare tactics and political and social corruption and the FrankenObamination plan of capital credits milking the consumer and business for social programs that don’t work.

  3. Jerry Johnson

    NO…………global warming is a complete scam designed to enrich some of the elite libs with their Carbon Credits Chicago “Bank”.

    The entire concept has been discredited. Plants consume CO2 in the photosynthesis process, and then produce Oxygen which we humans need to survive. No CO2, no oxygen.

    Maybe the world would be better off if the process were reversed for the libs ………….breath in the CO2 as their sacrifice, and then disapear from the earth.

  4. Ray Frattone


    Attention: News Editors, Political, Science and Environment Reporters
    Re-name “Earth Hour” to “Energy Hour” and base it on sound science
    Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is a serious mistake

    Ottawa, Canada, March 28, 2012: “Earth Hour is yet another symbol of how climate activists have hijacked the environmental movement,” said Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) which is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. “Most people do not realize that, when they turn out their lights for sixty minutes on March 31, they are not supporting science-based environmental protection. Participants in Earth Hour are unwittingly helping prop up one of the most threatening scientific hoaxes in history—the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are known to be causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change.”

  5. Gail Glidden

    I took an Earth Science class as a gen ed in college in 1990. One of the video’s shown to support globel warming 22 years ago showed how our weather systems would get more and more extreme as the climate changed. It was shocking and scary to watch. I feel like we are there now, but because it is somewhat gradual, we are all just nonchalantly accepting it and going on with our day to day lives. I don’t feel like all the record setting temperatures, fires, tornado’s, earthquakes, sunami’s, hurricanes, heatwaves are to be easily dismissed. Regardless of politics, mother nature is sending us warnings, and we all better sit up and pay attention. It is much more convenient to say global warming is not true, and big business and lobbyists are banking on it being false, and saying it is false regardless, but the truth is visable now. Our future depends on our actions now, not later. How much more proof do you need? Fine, just wait and SEE for yourself.

  6. Vic Wieland

    Very poor question – the earth has been warming for 400 years since the Little Ice Age .
    Thus the question should read do you believe in Anthropogenic warming IE caused by us .
    The earth was warmer than it is now during the Medieval period when Greenland was farmed and wine was made in England .
    Should we spend 30% of world GDP combatting Co2 to achieve a small reduction that will have a neglible affect on the end result ? Should we condemn millions to starvation “just in case ” the proven liars at the IPCC are right ??
    Only if your current religion is “climate change” or like Goldman Sachs and Al Gore you stand to make millions from “carbon trading ” .

  7. Sandro Belpanno

    Anthropogenic Global Warming? Whoa! I’ve got to check out this internet thing more often! I was just getting over that hole in the Ozone Layer caused by all those 80’s big hair bands! And now this! The ice caps are melting! Someone call Starbucks and get more on order, STAT! We need to combat this right away. Pass a Law! Join a rally! Make some T-shirts! Burn tires in the streets! Occuppy something! Our future depends on it!

    Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I consider myself an enviromental conservationist, and I think AGW theory has distracted us from otherwise well-intentioned efforts to protect our enviroment from legitimate threats. I won’t believe AGW theory, that we will cause a 2°F upward shift in global temperatures 90 years from now, until two things happen. One, all raw observation data is available as open-sourced for anyone to see without “filtering” or “corrections” by people who have been proven untrustworthy with that task. Two, my local weatherman can tell me if it is going to rain next weekend.

  8. Jim Buchanan

    YES I worry about global warming…… June, July & August here in Arizona.

    I remember in the mid 1960’s when science determined that we were headed into another ice age.

    Think of the money that changes hands when things like global warming is “discovered”.

    Now we are creating thousands of jobs for government regulators. And creating “alternative energy” millionaires who are producing little.

    BTW Sandro – I agree with you 100% except for the burning of tires. We will be fined heavily and thrown in jail for doing that :o)

  9. Jim Buchanan

    COMMENT #2 – Instead of discussing the Yes or No of the existence of global warming. Why don’t we discuss how we can all profit from it? What product can we produce in our under producing shops that we can sell to perhaps the government to cause global warming to reverse?

  10. Josh

    Jim G, your comment isn’t worth responding to but I will, it’s nothing but partisan drivel. Had you read my post that was exactly the type of behavior I was decrying, and exactly my point. You care more about propping up your team of good old boys and hating the black president just for the sake of hating then about a real debate with actual facts and information.

    Jerry, would you like to cite something beyond 9th grade earth science? We all know, or should know how trees work. Did you read my post? I cited actual studies that make your comment look ridiculous. Again, more partisan crap at the end. Do you see me running around here casting vitriolic aspersions against Republicans or conservatives? No.

    Vic, did you read my comment? You say we’ve been warming since the little ice age. Some scientists believe anthorpogenic factors actually contributed to the little ice age! What have we seen in the several hundred years since? Likely the most radical deforestation planet earth has probably ever witnessed short of global disaster.

    Sandro, the hole in the ozone was a real thing. The near complete reduction in use of CFC’s played a huge role in it’s recovering health. Predicting the weather is not the same as predicting global trends, AT all.

    To all of you scoffing at global warming, I’d like to see some real arguments and less name calling. We’re adults here, let’s act like it.

    Jim Buchanan, very good point, innovation is truly the key to solving these problems. Good on you brother.

  11. Jim Goerges

    Josh, your wrong. The left is singing to the tune made by Dr. Hook, called the freaker’s ball, you know, you’re invited! You brought up race, hmmm, why is that? I happen to have wonderful friends from college from the bahama’s, we chat often. They are very fun, well educated people, successful and hard working, who by the way, think Pres. Obama is taking the USA down the wrong path! Imagine that coming from black folks! Because I am conservative, you try to bring up race and decry opposite views as “drival”! Talk about polarizing! I think the left is wrong because they spend money, define rules before they know what the problem is, hmmm, called me whatever you like.

  12. Josh

    Jim, I brought up race because I’ve seen it used against people in responses to this blog before and because I do honestly believe that a lot of the vitriol cast in Obama’s direction is due to racism, whether it is overt or not.

    Again, you have no FACTS to back up anything you’re saying. You have no citation and all you can do is parrot the partisan drivel you here on talk radio. I don’t particularly like to listen to members of EITHER party at this point in time because none of those people in Washington have my best interests in mind. All either side wants is to be re-elected and you play right into their game. Go do some actual research about what you believe and get back to me. Otherwise you’ll just continue to look like a joke.

  13. Jim Goerges

    Josh, 3.7 trillion dollars of debt. We spend more than we make, we collect about 2.5 trillion. If you took all the money of the rich-corporations and private individuals, it comes to about 1.1 trillion. That is not enough to balance the budget in one year. Now, seems common sense and basic math and fiscal responsibility are not accepted by the 99%’s, or teacher’s unions, or government. What part of this don’t you understand?

  14. Josh

    Jim, what does that have to do with my original comment or global warming in the slightest? This was EXACTLY the point I was making, you’ve turned a scientific debate into a political mud slinging fest. Instead of responding to my original points you decided to respond with partisan crap completely unprovoked.

    Do you not remember the outrageous government spending under Bush? Do you know who the first president was under who’s reign the national debt skyrocketed and has never gone down? Ronald Reagan. Do you blame them for what happened under their terms like you do Obama? I think not. Again, I’m getting distracted. This debate isn’t about Republican Vs Democrat, it’s about scientific fact. If you take the word of partisan pundits ON EITHER SIDE over the scientific community you’re just foolish. I believe global warming is real because I’ve heard numerous scientists speak about it, and I’ve read numerous articles over the years suggesting such change is possible. Who told you that it’s fake? Rush? O’Reilly? Hannity? Turn off your radio for a few minutes.

  15. Barry Fulford

    Noah, whether real or imagined,we adapt , create, evolve or die. I enjoy reading your readers opinions. My son brought me the book by Carl Sagan. A pale blue dot. An interesting read if your followers have the time. Thank you, Barry


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