US demand for pipe is expected to grow 6.2% pa to US$50.1 bln in 2016. Sales of pipe will benefit primarily from a rebound in building construction. In addition, the expansion of oil and gas exploration and transmission activity, an improved outlook for state and municipal infrastructure spending, and the continued need to replace and repair the country's aging water pipe networks will contribute to growth. In volume terms, pipe demand is forecast to rise at a 6.3% annual rate through 2016 to 83 bln lbs, totaling more than 12 billion feet.
Plastic pipe will experience the fastest growth through 2016. Resin improvements that enhance pipe performance will enable plastic pipe to continue to take market share from other pipe materials in demanding applications. Additionally, processing improvements will allow plastic pipe to be a more cost effective option compared to other materials. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which accounted for approximately one-half of all plastic pipe demand in 2011, will remain the leading plastic resin. Going forward, PVC is expected to take advantage of the recovery in building construction and increase at nearly a double digit rate. High density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe was the second leading plastic pipe in 2011. Advances in HDPE pipe will result from the material continuing to supplant concrete, PVC, and steel pipe in drainage, storm sewer, and water distribution applications.