Russian steel producer Severstal is planning major maintenance for its largest blast furnace at Cherepovets SW. Accounting for 35% of the facility's pig iron production, the furnace will be idled for three to four months starting in spring 2024. The maintenance aims to improve equipment longevity and performance.
Severstal, a key player in Russia's steel industry, is set to undergo significant maintenance activities at its main asset, blast furnace No. 5. Located in the Cherepovets SW complex, this furnace contributes to around 35 percent of the site's pig iron production, with an annual yield of over 4 million metric tons.
Market insiders have disclosed that the overhaul is slated to begin in spring 2024 and is expected to last for three to four months. Severstal has been conducting preliminary repairs on some of the blast furnace's equipment to minimize the downtime during the full-scale maintenance.
A Severstal official stated that the primary goal of this extensive maintenance is to "secure the solid and productive work of the upstream equipment," on which both the company's output volume and product quality depend.
At present, Severstal is mainly catering to the domestic Russian market, as well as exports to neighboring CIS countries where no export tax applies. Given the upcoming maintenance, the company's export activities are anticipated to remain minimal, particularly in distant markets.
This limited export focus is also influenced by the necessity to build up stocks of semi-finished products to maintain operations during the blast furnace's hiatus. Severstal has not been available for slab and BPI exports for several weeks, emphasizing its focus on domestic and neighboring markets.
While the facility is idled for long-term repairs, Severstal plans to maintain a minimal presence in the export segment for raw materials and steel products. This approach is in line with the company’s overall strategy to ensure a constant supply chain, even during maintenance periods.
Severstal's planned maintenance for its key blast furnace is a significant development, both for the company and the broader Russian steel industry. While this will restrict the company's export activities, it is a necessary step to improve long-term performance and reliability.