Steel News

U. S. Steel Takes Two BFs Out of Service, Postpones Capital Projects

3/27/2020 - In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden deterioration in the oil and gas markets, United States Steel Corporation is idling two blast furnaces and delaying a number of capital projects.
In an announcement Friday, the company said it is  temporarily idling the A furnace at its Granite City Works in Illinois and moving up a planned outage of the No. 4 blast furnace at its Gary Works in Indiana. In addition, the construction of its endless cast-roll plant at the Mon Valley Works and construction of a new co-generation facility are being postponed.

“The actions we are announcing today make us stronger and enable us to weather the current situation to emerge as a leader in sustainable steel solutions for generations to come,” president and chief executive officer David B. Burritt said.
U. S. Steel had been planning a 48-day outage at Gary Works’ No. 4 furnace. The outage was to have begun in April, but the scope of the project is now being reduced, and some of the work that otherwise would have taken place is being postponed. In addition, planned upgrades to the Gary hot strip mill also are being paused, U. S. Steel said.

“The company expects the Gary No. 4 blast furnace to remain idled until market conditions improve,” the company said. “The company … will continue to evaluate the pace and timeline for completing the remaining investments in the hot strip mill,” it added.  

In Pennsylvania, U. S. Steel is putting off its planned cast-roll mill at its Mon Valley Works, owing to delays in the permitting process and uncertainty in the markets.

“On March 23, the Allegheny County Health Department announced, after consultation with the company, that a temporary pause in the permitting process is appropriate given the challenges posed to the public comment process while COVID-19 public health orders are in effect in Allegheny County.  The company agrees with a pause during this time of social distancing precautions implemented by the county.  In addition to the regulatory delay, in order to preserve cash and liquidity, the company currently expects groundbreaking for this project to be delayed for an indeterminate period of time until market conditions become more certain.”

All told, the company is reducing its capital spending by US$125 million this year.
Despite the postponements, the company said it continues to move ahead with one project: installation of the electric arc furnace at its Fairfield, Ala., USA, facility. It expects to strike the first arc sometime in the second half of this year.

“The short-term actions ... announced today are difficult but necessary.  Our focus on cash and liquidity will ultimately position us to achieve our longer-term goals as a stronger organization,” Burritt said.
You can find U. S. Steel’s announcement here.

You can find U. S. Steel’s announcement here.