Alacero (Latin American Steel Association) was part of the Environmental Policy Committee of the World Steel Association (worldsteel) that took place in IJuiden, The Netherlands at the end of April.
Edwin Basson, General Director of worldsteel, presented a detailed outlook of the global economic situation of the steel industry and highlighted improved expectations towards the end of 2013 and during 2014, with demand growing between 2.9% and 3.2%. He also referred to the population growth mega-trends and their impact on markets. “An increase of 1500 million inhabitants in 15 years, that maybe we will not visualize in our markets, but at a global scale.” – he said.
Steel as a competitive material throughout its whole life cycle when compared to some other materials in terms of sustainability, adequate CO2 and particulate emissions, water use, etc. He also highlighted that the disciplined approach of the life cycle assessment methodology carried on by worldsteel, strengthens the credibility of steel as a sustainable material.
The participants shared the results of the CO2 emissions data collection programme that started 5-years ago and now gathers information on 51 companies and 212 steel plants around the world. With Alacero´s support, South America participation rate in this programme reached 54% while average global participation was around 30%. The data collection methodology developed by worldsteel has been adopted as a base for ISO 14404 Part 1 and 2 standards, published in March 2013.
Mr Pawel Olejarnik, of the International Energy Agency (IEA) also addressed the panel on global trends in energy and CO2 sectorial scenarios. He focused on showing how the introduction of non-conventional oil and gas (from shale) will significantly change the global energetic map during the decades to come. IEA estimates that a breakeven price for CO2 would be around US$67/t.
The IEA predicts that by 2017, USA will produce half its oil using these unconventional technologies and will match Saudi Arabia as main oil producer and Russia as gas producer. Regarding shale-oil and gas reserves in Argentina and Brazil, Mr Olejarnik estimated that these will not be developed before 2020.
The IEA expects CO2 emissions to reach their peak by 2017, and then begin a period of stabilization by 2022, if a new international scheme that redefines the energy-climate map were reached by 2020.
Regarding the steel industry, the committee pointed out that energy costs vary between 20 and 40% of the total production cost.