Steel Mills

NLMK USA Dodges H2 Shortages Caused by Ida

Written by Michael Cowden

NLMK USA’s operations in western Pennsylvania have secured enough liquid hydrogen (H2) to avert a shortage caused by Hurricane Ida, the company said.

The steelmaker was notified after the storm ripped through the Gulf Coast earlier this month that a hydrogen supplier might not be able to meet its commitments.

NLMKThere were initial fears that the H2 shortage would impact cold rolling and coating operations – which require liquid hydrogen – and in particular available spot tonnage.

NLMK USA scrambled to secure enough H2 on the spot market to keep operations running. And by Monday afternoon, Sept. 13, that effort proved successful.

The result: A brief slowdown in coating operations resulted in approximately 500 tons lost, not nearly as high as the quantities that might have been in play had enough H2 not been found.

The situation had been fluid, a company official acknowledged.

“For those of you have who heard that production was impacted due to hydrogen shortages, that situation has been remedied – and no production disruptions are anticipated,” he said. “If we didn’t get hydrogen, that story would have been different.”

NLMK USA in western Pennsylvania operates a hot strip mill, a cold mill and a coating facility – the latter is also known as Sharon Coating.

The liquid H2 shortages resulted from Ida’s impact on the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical industry. NLMK USA was not the only facility impacted by the issue, market participants said.

Other steelmakers impacted by Ida included Nucor, whose direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Louisiana was idled ahead of the Category 4 storm making landfall. The facility remains down because of storm-induced barge shortages.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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