More German mills reduce production on energy costs

German rebar mill Badische Stahlwerke has been running on only one of two electric-arc furnaces in April, Kallanish learns from a source close to the company.

Although the demand for rebar is high in Germany, mills feel forced by the extreme increase of energy costs to reduce their production. Badische actually had an exceptionally long standstill of one EAF around the turn of the year already when it was renewing the foundation of one furnace. It then returned to full production for only a couple of months until idling one of the furnaces again. Both have a capacity of 1 million tonnes per year.

Another rebar mill, Lech Stahlwerke in Bavaria, was the first German steelworks that announced temporary downtimes of its EAF.

A speciality steel mill that introduced a stop-and-go modus of operations is Buderus Edelstahl, a unit of voestalpine. The standstills there affect the EAF and other energy-intensive units.

“The cost increases for energy are so dynamic that they cannot be forwarded to the market,” a spokesman of the company says.

Earlier on, ArcelorMittal introduced short working hours at its direct-reduced iron (DRI) plant in Hamburg, which runs on natural gas, in combination with an electric arc furnace. It “currently cannot operate economically feasible,” the group states.

Christian Koehl Germany