Blast furnace repairs brought forward, says SSAB Europe

Nordic and US-based steel company SSAB Europe is carrying out repairs and bringing forward maintenance work at its blast furnace 2 in Raahe in Finland.

The company will carry out repairs and maintenance work at one of the two blast furnaces at the Raahe site, meaning that the operations at blast furnace 2 will be stopped for around eight weeks and the total cost is estimated to be around SEK 200 million in Q1 2019.

The reason for the disruption is a minor break out in blast furnace 2 that occurred on 22 January when some molten iron leaked through the hearth wall from a hole. The blast furnace was stopped temporarily and repair work started. In addition, an extensive analysis of the condition of the blast furnace took place. The results of the analysis prompted the bringing forward of  repairs and maintenance work planned for summer 2020 in order to reduce the risk of further disruptions. This means that the operations at blast furnace 2 will be stopped for around eight weeks in total. The production loss will be partly compensated by the SSAB Europe's other blast furnaces and by the blast furnaces of SSAB Special Steels in Oxelösund. SSAB Europe might also source slabs externally.

According to SSAB Europe, the negative result of the repair and maintenance work are mainly lower capacity utilisation and increased costs for logistics and repairs, which is estimated to be around SEK 200 million in total in Q1 2019. As the production loss partly will be compensated, the impact on shipments during Q1 will be limited.

Maintenance work being done will mean that the refurbishment of blast furnace 2, scheduled for summer 2020, will be postponed until 2022 or even 2023. The production at blast furnace 1 in Raahe is running according to plan, the company claims.