Steel Mills

U.S. Steel Slates Additional Blast Furnace Outages

Written by Michael Cowden

U.S. Steel plans to take additional outages at its blast furnaces in the Midwest, the company confirmed.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker will take an approximately seven-day outage on the B furnace at its Granite City Works outside of St. Louis beginning on Oct. 1, a company spokeswoman said.

 US SteelAnd U.S. Steel will also take a roughly 10-day outage on the No. 14 blast furnace at its Gary Works outside of Chicago starting on Nov. 30, she said.

“The following are planned maintenance outages to ensure the reliability and integrity of our assets,” the spokeswoman said in an email to SMU.

The outage on No. 14 is for furnace stack cooling member replacement, she said.

The latest outages come after U.S. Steel confirmed last week that it would be taking a 38-day outage at the No. 6 furnace at its Gary Works starting on Sept. 30.

The outage on No. 14 is notable because it is the largest furnace of the four operating blast furnaces at Gary Works.

Granite City has two blast furnaces, A and B. The A furnace has been indefinitely idled since April 2020.

Steelmakers in practice build inventory ahead of planned outages to make sure customers shipments aren’t impacted. But the total volume of hot metal in theory out of the market is substantial.

The No. 6 furnace has daily capacity of 3,450 tons, meaning a 38-day outage there theoretically takes 131,100 tons ouf of the market. The No. 14 furnace has daily capacity of 7,450 tons, and so the outage there theoretically takes 74,500 tons out of the market. And the B furnace has daily capacity of 3,600 tons, which menas a seven-day outage there theoretically takes 25,200 tons out of the market. The total: 230,800 tons, according to figures compiled using SMU’s blast furnace status table.

And the outages at U.S. Steel occur against the backdrop of Cleveland-Cliffs – the largest flat-rolled steelmaker in the United States – taking a 45-60 day outage at the No. 7 furnace at its Indiana Harbor steel works, also outside of Chicago. That furnace – the largest in North America – has daily capacity of 11,500, which means a 45-60 day outage theoretically takes 517,500-690,000 tons out of the market.

Also, it’s not just integrated mills that are taking outages. So, too, are electric arc furnace (EAF) producers.

Case in point: U.S. Steel’s Big River Steel subsidiary is taking an approximately two-week outage at its mill in Osceola, Ark., from October 10-23, the spokeswoman said. That’s longer than the one-week outage SMU reported last month for the Arkansas mill.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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