Acciaierie d’Italia targeting 4.1 mil mt crude steel output in 2021: sources

Acciaierie d’Italia, Italy’s largest flat steel producer, was expected to produce 4.1 million mt of crude steel at its Taranto works this year, maintaining an earlier target despite one of its coke batteries having been halted, sources at local unions said Sept. 6.

The company declined to comment on its steel production target but did say coke battery No. 12 started a final phase of environmental upgrade on Sept. 1, and has been shut for works expected to last until the end of 2021.

“This phase requires the production suspension, which has a fixed technical duration at the end of which Battery No. 12 will return to production as normal. The restart of the plant is scheduled for the end of the year,” it said.

According to unions, Acciairie d’Italia — the former Ilva — was producing 14,000 mt of crude steel per day with three Blast Furnaces, BF No. 1, BF No. 2 and BF No. 4, and with three coking batteries, No. 7, 8 and 9, that process coke in 16-18 hours, rather than the 24 hours when battery 12 was working.

Faster coking times typically require higher quality coking coals in the blend, to maintain quality. US coking coal suppliers shipped coking coal to Taranto earlier this year from Hampton Roads terminals in Virginia, according to shipping market data.

Union sources said crude steel production volumes will be the same as previously targeted, due to a mix of faster coke processing hours and the use of imported coke.

Both of Acciaierie d’Italia’s melting shops are working: No. 2 at 80% of its capacity and No. 1 at 50%.

Market sources who are buying from Acciaierie d’Italia said there was relief the company’s output has not been cut. While the market is calm and apparent demand has slowed down, steel supply is still overall tight.

Steel imports from important markets that deliver to Italy, such as India and Turkey, are no longer seen in the market as quotas have been filled while deliveries from Italian producers for HRC and CRC are reported to see long lead times.

— Annalisa Villa, Hector Forster