BOSSIER CITY, La. (AP) ¿ Northwest Pipe Co., which manufactures welded pipe, said Thursday that it will reopen its Bossier City plant that has been idle for three years.

A retooled 140,000-square-foot plant, expected to open in 2010, will create up to 120 jobs at an average salary of $39,000, plus benefits, according to company and state economic development officials.

The company will use the plant to manufacture tubular products and pipe for the petroleum industry.

Although the plant was closed three years ago because of changing market conditions, Northwest said Thursday that the Bossier City site gives it a chance now to strengthen its competitive presence in the energy business.

"Bossier City is ideally located to serve our energy pipe customers," said Northwest Pipe chief executive Brian Dunham. "Based upon their market demand, we hope to recommission the plant by mid-2010. We are committed to the energy pipe business, and we believe in Bossier City as an excellent manufacturing location."

After crashing to near $30 per barrel last year, oil prices have rebounded somewhat from 2008 record highs near $150 per barrel.

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