Market Intelligence

Low Crude Prices Impact Oil Well Cement Consumption

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Oil prices have declined dramatically since mid 2014 due to a combination of global supply and demand issues. This has significant implications for the U.S. economy, as well as for cement consumption. If oil prices stay near $30 per barrel, or lower, several consequences to cement consumption could arise that would impact the fall forecast projections. Given the complex nature of forecasting energy prices, PCA relies on projections from the Energy Information Agency (EIA). At the time of the PCA’s fall forecast, EIA’s 2016 projection for West Texas Intermediate oil price was nearly 30 percent higher than its current projection, and further reductions may be forthcoming.

Lower oil prices mean increased fuel savings (heating and automotive) for consumers. The positive economic impacts of these savings manifest unevenly throughout the rest of the economy and can be delayed at various rates; however, many analysts suggest that the oil price decline resulted in an increase of 20 to 40 basis points to the economy in 2015. The negative impacts of low oil prices, such as decreased drilling activity, generally occur more quickly. PCA estimates for every one ton of oil well cement lost from reduced drilling activity, 2.9 tons of cement consumption is lost from coincidental energy production construction.

Contact Ed Sullivan

Member News

Utah Interstate Paving Project Wins 2016 Triad Award

I-80 Reconstruction-Triad Award-framedAn Interstate-80 reconstruction project in Utah won top place in the 2016 Triad Awards last week at World of Concrete. Sponsored by LafargeHolcim, Concrete Construction, The Concrete Producer, and Public Works magazines, the awards recognize sustainable public projects built with concrete that demonstrate industry leadership.

“We are proud to once again sponsor the 2016 Triad Awards,” said John Stull, CEO, U.S. Cement, for LafargeHolcim. “The awards' criteria (innovation, sustainability and leadership) are at the core of our company's values and our partnership with Hanley Wood to promote these progressive solutions enables our industry to share the complexity and cutting edge concrete solutions deployed each and every day.”

The winning project reconstructed Interstate-80 from Silver Creek Junction to Wanship, Utah. Geneva Rock Products and the Utah Department of Transportation used partial depth reclamation (pdr) covered by portland cement concrete pavement and cast-n-place concrete barrier wall for the $34.6 million job. Triad Award runners-up were the Southeast Collector Trunk Sewer Project, Southern Ontario, Canada, and Second Avenue Subway TBM Tunnels, New York, New York.

“LafargeHolcim is part of a large team of contractors, engineers and manufacturers that need to work in unison to build amazing things,” Stull said. “This year's topic, ‘outstanding publicly-owned projects,' certainly is a great subject to promote all the stakeholders involved in these types of projects.” 

See http://www.triadaward.com for more information.


Spring Congress Registration Opens

2016 Spring Congress Logo_low_res_framedRegistration is now open for the PCA Spring Congress, March 13-15, at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

As part of the Spring Congress, a Centennial reception and banquet will be held March 14 at the nearby Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, Crystal Ballroom. This room is where cement executives met in 1916 to form PCA.

In addition to PCA committee sessions and meetings, Ed Sullivan, PCA group vice president and chief economist, will present an economic update on March 15 and the Board of Directors for both PCA and CTLGroup will meet.

Deadline for hotel reservations and meeting registration is February 15. See hotel reservations details.

Register for the meeting online

Contact Kathryn DiProva

Market Development

Join the Paving Call on Friday

Please join us Friday, February 12, at 11 a.m. ET, for the PCA monthly paving call to share best practices and avenues to successful paving advocacy and promotion.

The call features:

• A new, edgy video showing an “apples to apples” comparison of a concrete highway vs. an asphalt highway to be used for advocacy efforts in the state of Ohio – Ray McVeigh, executive director of PCA Great Lakes Region, and Ohio lobbyist Thomas Norris

• The latest from the MIT CSHub on research and available research briefs – Randall Kirchain, PhD, MIT CSHub

Feel free to forward this invitation to other concrete pavement promoters that you feel would benefit from participating on these calls. Please copy pavements@cement.org on the forwarded email, and we will add them to the master list for future calls.

Contact Alpa Swinger


Research Fellowship Nominations Due Next Monday

Nominations for the PCA Education Foundation Research Fellowship Program are due February 15. The John P. Gleason Fellowship includes a $35,000 grant to identify and attract outstanding candidates in the fields of science and engineering and provide them the necessary support to complete their studies.

Research topics should affect the use of cement or concrete or the manufacture of cement. The applicant must pursue graduate study in an engineering, science, material science, or architectural program within the United States. Joint proposals are required from the candidate and professor. For complete details, see the PCA website.

Contact Steve Kosmatka

Market Development

Two Sessions Promote ICFs at World of Concrete

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On the opening day of WOC 2016, more than 100 attendees participated in an inaugural Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) Summit called “Increasing Profits with Insulating Concrete Forms.” Sponsored by PCA, the Council of ICF Industries (CICFI), and ICG Builder Group (ICFBG), the session featured four builders who specialize in ICF construction. The builders shared their experience with engineers, architects/designers, and other builders. Attendees heard how ICF products can help them grow beyond residential construction into other applications, such as safe rooms, schools, healthcare, and multi-family.

On Thursday morning, more than 50 builders attended an education session on advanced ICF construction techniques taught by Donn Thompson, PCA senior director, market development. Topics included using ICFs in new and unique ways for larger, more complex structures in real-world projects, and overcoming some of the associated challenges to help grow their businesses.

Contact Donn Thompson

Industry News

Wisconsin RMCA Releases New Concrete Overlay Video


The Wisconsin Ready Mixed Concrete Association recently released a new video promoting concrete overlays. The video features two testimonials of Wisconsin business owners who chose concrete overlays for existing parking lots. The video was made possible through funding by the five regional promotion groups who are supported by producer contributions and the PCA Great Lakes Region.

The video may be viewed on youtube.com

Contact Ray McVeigh


New Summit Provides CEMS Technician Training

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Ongoing educational needs of member company employees tasked with compliance monitoring were addressed in an inaugural summit January 27-28.

The PCA Continuous Emissions Monitoring (CEMS) Technician Hardware Summit included presentations and discussions led by Jim Peeler, president of Emission Monitoring, Inc. The training was supplemented with in-depth equipment.

The next training events are scheduled for March 8 and March 9 in Dallas, Texas, and April 19 and April 20 in Ontario, California. An announcement will be sent to PCA members once online registration is available.

See PCA’s Innovations in Portland Cement Manufacturing, 2nd EditionSP400, for reference information on cement production, quality assurance, process engineering, energy issues, health and safety, environmental issues, and analytical techniques.

Contact Rick Bohan rbohan@cement.org