Steel Finds Sweet Spot in the Shale

Natural gas boom begets low prices for fuel, strong demand for piping — a double boon for mills.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

The rising fortunes of a massive U.S. Steel Corp. X -0.68% plant here has much to do with what sits below: massive deposits of cheap natural gas.

Shiny coils roll off the line destined for energy companies drilling in the Marcellus Shale natural-gas formations that rest below much of southwestern Pennsylvania. Production for so-called tubular goods used for pipes, tubes and joints in gas drilling has doubled in two years, says Scott Bucksio, the general manager of the plant in the sprawling Mon Valley Works, as drillers have raced to extract ever-larger amounts of gas from the shale deposits.

As significant, or more so for energy-intensive steelmakers, is that newly plentiful natural gas “is also keeping costs down” said Mr. Bucksio of U.S. Steel…