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Metal Miner

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Destroyed Ukrainian Energy Grids Impact Steel Production

  • Many Russian offensive measures have targeted the Ukrainian energy network.
  • Kamet Steel brought one of its three blast furnaces back on stream on Dec. 13.
  • Industry watchers told MetalMiner that several Ukrainian steelmakers are facing production and rolling issues.

Steel production in Ukraine took a hit this past week due to the ongoing conflict with Russia. Industry watchers told MetalMiner that several Ukrainian steelmakers are facing production and rolling issues. Energy suppliers are rationing power distribution to major consumers. The rationing is the direct result of missile attacks and other military actions by Russian forces.

Since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine began back in February, many Russian offensive measures have targeted the former’s energy network. According to European news reports, drone attacks on energy assets since October have also exacerbated the problem.

Steel Production Cuts at Kamet, ArcelorMittal

Fortunately, longs producer Kamet Steel brought one of its three blast furnaces back on stream on Dec. 13. But according to parent company Metinvest, this move came with a caveat. “Currently, Kamet Steel is producing pig iron at one of its blast furnaces. Further resumption of crude steel and rolled product output will be largely determined by power supply deficit in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine,” Metinvest said. Kamet can pour up to 3.5 million metric tons per year of crude steel. It casts this into square and round billet for commercial sale and for rolling into 1.8 million metric tons of long products.

ArcelorMittal Kriviy Rih, also in Dnipropetrovsk oblast, is also severely limited in its production, a spokesman for the plant said. “After a new massive rocket attacks on critical infrastructure facilities of Ukraine in November, ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih had to critically limit electricity consumption and suspend most production processes. The plant has temporarily stopped steel smelting and production of rolled products,” the spokesman said in an e-mail. “The shipment activities of rolled products to customers operate as planned as there is sufficient stock in the warehouses,” the spokesman added.

The Dnipropetrovsk plant can produce an estimated 6 million metric tons per year of crude steel via the BF/BOF rote. The facility then casts this into billets for rolling into long products, such as wire rod, rebar, and merchant bar.

Flats Producer Zaporizhstal Also Facing Shutdowns

One source stated that integrated flats producer Zaporizhstal, which produces hot and cold rolled coil and downstream products, is now facing limits in its rolling program. Neither officials at Zaporizhstal nor at parent company Metinvest were available for comment. However, we do know that plant’s rolled production from January to November was down 57.5% year on year to 1.25 million metric tons. This information came via a Dec. 1 report from a local trade publication.

President Vladimir Putin’s Sept. 30 formal announcement that the Russian Federation has annexed four Ukrainian oblasts hurting steel production, one of which included Zaporizhie, has so far not impacted operations at the plant. Our sources noted that this is because Russian control in the area is almost non-existent.

Further east in Ukraine, sources say that Donetskstal, Makiyivka, Azovstal, and Yenakievo are not operating. However, they warned that there is little to no primary-source information on their current status.

Many will remember that Metinvest’s flats producer Azovstal, in Mariupol, was the site of a siege from April to May. Both Russian and Russian-backed forces launched the two-month siege against Ukrainian forces held up at the plant. While bombing has likely destroyed the plant entirely, one source said it might be possible to partially restore the neighboring Ilyich plant

The source stressed, however, that Metinvest would not be able to make any concrete determinations until technical specialists closely inspect the group’s assets. For now, such an investigation remains practically impossible.

By Christopher Rivituso

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Via AG Metal Miner

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