After some years of slowdown, the steel tube industry in the GCC is witnessing a huge demand with the steady growing demand of the construction sector. As the region scales up its utility projects, as well as railway networks and construction and infrastructure projects, industry experts predict that the steel tube industry is expected to see a return to the times witnessed in 2008. According to a market study, the global demand for steel pipes and tubes is forecast to reach 151 million tonnes by 2017. This is mainly driven by increased activity in the oil and gas and construction sectors and the rise in infrastructure development projects. It is estimated that the steel tube industry will witness an annual growth of 17 per cent in the UAE until 2015. This forecast has been made by Al Fajer Information & Services (AFIS), Messe Essen and Messe Dusseldorf, the organisers of Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting, Tekno Arabia and Tube Arabia, the three-in-one industry exhibits to be held from at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre from Jan.7-10, 2013. A record number of over 300 exhibitors from 25 countries are expected to take part in the four-day event. The Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting, Tekno Arabia and Tube Arabia are the by far the largest industry events of the sector being held in the region. The three exhibitions are regarded a key gateway to the extremely important Gulf and Middle East markets by exhibitors from Europe, North America and Asia, according to organizers. Satish Khanna, General Manager, AFIS said: “The UAE is a very significant market for the construction industry worldwide. The Tekno and Tube shows have already established their mark on the world for more many years as international events for industrial machinery, metal working, machine tools, tubes and pipes. The shows are key drivers for highlighting the strength of the industry in this region. The Arabia Essen Welding & Cutting 2013 is the first-of-its-kind industry expo which will be dedicated specifically to welding machinery and technology.” The UAE, as a huge contributor of the overall construction project value in the region, has the largest number of active projects in the Middle East. The resulting high demand for steel tubes has strengthened the position of the UAE, and GCC, as a production base for tubes, pipes and welding solutions and machinery. The steel tube production saw a global decline since 2008. All buying sectors registered sharp declines. In this context, not only the exploration activities of the oil and gas industry declined as a result of the falling energy consumption, along with tumbling oil and gas prices. Key customer sectors such as mechanical engineering and the automobile industry were also very reluctant to place orders, with the exception of the power sector, which due to long lead times, was able to continue the extension of capacities.