The oil and gas industry will enter its healthiest balance sheet in 2023, according to research by Deloitte, with the market growing at a steady CAGR of 5.4% (from 2022 to 2032). This is welcome news for pipe suppliers in the UAE These figures are supported by further research from Deloitte reflecting executive sentiment in the oil and gas sector, with 93% of them expecting positive growth in the coming year. Strengthened by record profits in 2022, oil and gas companies are in a good position to fund their anticipated growth strategies and capitalize on global commitments to meet short-term energy requirements.

 While oil and gas companies recognize geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty in the years ahead, they’ve also been given a clear mandate to secure supply in the short term while transitioning to cleaner energy in the longer term. Subsequently, they are looking at a mix of consolidation, strengthening financial standing, and investing in infrastructure and growth. For the moment, and despite considerable advances in new pipe system materials, steel remains the workhorse for the industry, and the most reliable, cost-effective, and versatile material across most applications, meaning that pipes and fittings suppliers in the UAE will continue to rely on steel for the bulk of their deliveries – for new and old facilities alike.


Plastic Pipes

Since the second half of the last century, thermoplastic materials have been used for pipelines for water mains and pressure sewers, and later for the construction of underground gas pipelines. However, despite its corrosion resistance, the use of polyethylene in the oil and gas field has not received widespread acceptance in the oil and gas sector. This is largely because thermoplastic pipes have a low bearing capacity. Although this is improving with time, it is still not comparable to the capabilities of steel pipes in handling conduits under the required working pressures for oil and gas applications.

Polymer Metal Pipes

Flexible polymer-metal pipes have also been introduced, and have gained acceptance as engineered products that can be tailored to specific requirements. However, their main problem remains the high manufacturing cost, which ultimately prevents their widespread use in oil and gas applications.

Fiberglass Pipes

Another alternative to steel pipes in the oil and gas field is fiberglass pipes. Fiberglass pipes are made by winding fiberglass filaments soaked in special polymers around a mandrill. They are engineered pipes that can be tailored to handle a wide range of corrosive materials, temperatures, and pressures. With strong surface tensile strength, they have gained widespread acceptance for some applications. However, fiberglass composite pipes still need to be improved to overcome some serious limitations, such as their bearing capacity, which needs to overcome the operating pressure threshold of 4.0 MPa, and the consistency of connections, which still need to meet operational and safety considerations beyond their limits.

Steel Pipe for Oil and Gas Industry


Given that steel pipes are going to remain the industry standard for the foreseeable future, there are some advances to look out for in the coming years:

Treatment and Coating

To address corrosion issues, steel pipes are treated with a wide range of protective coatings and treatments to enable them to address the issue, prevent disruption from failures, and extend the useful life of pipe systems. As newer and more sophisticated options are discovered, they will increase the corrosion resistance properties of steel pipes.

Inspection and Testing

Advances in monitoring and inspection are helping to improve predictive and preventive servicing. Robotics are also increasingly finding ways to support pipe systems and can perform where human intervention may be compromised.

Materials and Alloys

Special alloys and combinations of metals are extensively used to accommodate conduits, pressures, and temperatures while allowing for a wider range of diameters. Wider ranges of composites and alloys are expected to be introduced, and prices are likely to drop with advances in technology.

AI, IoT, and Logistics

Due to the heavy weight and bulk of steel pipes, logistics have always presented a cost challenge for steel pipe suppliers in the UAE and beyond. Advances in AI and logistics are creating a new paradigm that allows for shorter lead times, on-time deliveries, and better management of stocks and inventories, ultimately leading to more efficiencies and lower costs.


Steel pipes have always been the backbone of the oil and gas industry. From exploration to the final delivery, steel pipes have been relied on in the industry, and are expected to continue. With the industry steeped in experience in handling steel pipes, switching to alternatives will require considerable evidence to outweigh what is tried and proven.

Their versatility, adaptability, toughness, and connectivity are key factors that will ensure continued service as the industry standard.  Continued technological improvements mean that steel pipes will be the default piping solution for some time.