ArcelorMittal re-starts Bremen, Fos blast furnaces while Ghent off for relining

ArcelorMittal resumed operations at the No. 3 blast furnace at its Bremen site in Germany and at the No. 1 blast furnace at Fos-sur-Mer in France last week to balance production after it temporarily shut one of its 2.5 million mt a year blast furnaces in Ghent, Belgium, a company spokesman told S&P Global Platts Sept. 29.

The steelmaker halted the furnaces at Fos-Sur-Mer and Bremen at the end of March due to falling demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheduled Ghent reline started a couple of weeks ago, with the work expected to be completed in around four months. Ghent produced 5.5 million mt of crude steel last year.

ArcelorMittal has two blast furnaces at Fos-sur-Mer with a combined design capacity of 4 million mt/year of crude steel. ArcelorMittal intended to shut the No. 2 furnace at Fos-sur-Mer temporarily due to a lack of orders last month, but then decided to keep it running because the market for coils is picking up. Bremen also has two blast furnaces with an annual combined capacity of 3.6 million mt of crude steel. Last year the mill produced 3.1 million mt.

The European hot-rolled steel coil market has been rising since the beginning of September triggered by the stronger demand and European steelmakers keeping supply and demand well balanced. Platts HRC, ex-works Ruhr, assessment has risen by about 9.4%. since Sept. 1.

— Annalisa Villa