U. S. Steel Corp. has announced the successful startup of its newly constructed electric arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking facility at its Fairfield, Alabama, operations. The company says this is the latest milestone it has reached in its “Best of Both” integrated and minimill technology strategy.
U. S. Steel President and Chief Executive Officer David B. Burritt says, “The EAF significantly enhances our ability to deliver customer-centric solutions and results. We made a commitment to add electric arc steelmaking to our operating footprint as part of our ‘Best of Both’ strategy. This successful startup delivers on that promise, and I am very pleased with the way our people safely accomplished this while navigating the disruptive influences of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had the added benefit of using this project as a tool for technical collaboration with the EAF experts at our ‘Best of Both’ partner, Big River Steel. Fairfield EAF No. 1 adds significantly more sustainable steelmaking technology to our portfolio.”
U. S. Steel Senior Vice President – Tubular Products Douglas R. Matthews adds, “I am proud of the Fairfield team for their perseverance and continued focus throughout the construction and startup processes, especially on our core value of safety. We are excited to provide our customers with more sustainable tubular solutions, including our technically advanced proprietary connections, to support their efforts to safely extract and transport the resources necessary to power our daily lives.”
The EAF method of steelmaking uses electrical energy to melt steel scrap into liquid steel. In the startup process, U.S. Steel says Fairfield EAF No. 1 started its first arc, charged and melted steel scrap. On Oct. 20, the operation tapped its first heat of liquid steel.
The EAF will have an annual steelmaking capacity of 1.6 million tons.
Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel announced the restart of construction on the EAF steelmaking facility at its Tubular Operations in Fairfield in early 2019. The company previously began construction of the EAF, which is in Alabama’s Jefferson County, in March 2015. However, U.S. Steel suspended construction in December of the same year because of what it said were unfavorable market conditions.
Earlier this year U.S. Steel idled tubular operations in Lorain, Ohio, and Lone Star, Texas, because of weak tubular market conditions. In the company’s third quarter 2020 guidance issued in September, U.S. Steel says tubular market conditions “appear to have bottomed, but catalysts for improvement are limited.”