Emirates Steel’s $1.6 billion Heavy Sections Mill, which started production in early 2012, is diversifying its product range and is now developing structural steel with enhanced mechanical properties that are often specified in offshore oil, gas and petrochemical projects.
The 15-year old GCC steelmaker has a capacity to produce one million tons of structural steel per year and has recently started to ramp up production.
“We are in the middle of a transition period,” said CEO Saeed G Al Romaithi. “We are ramping up production to reach the one million tons level possibly in three years’ time when we would have developed our product range and optimized our rolling mill efficiency”. The mill currently has a wide range of products from medium light sections to heavy jumbo sections with sizes from approximately 200 to 1,000 millimeters in depth.
“We are now developing new grades with higher mechanical properties to meet market demand in the oil and gas sector,” he added. The new structural steel that the steelmaker has started developing is the S355J2 which maintains its impact strength even at -20ᴏ C. This steel is intended for the supply of offshore oil and gas structures.
By producing these enhanced grades, Emirates Steel should be in a better position to compete for a larger share of the heavy sections market in the MENA region, which is currently supplied largely by imports. “We have identified the product grades that are required by our customers and we are producing them to order,” he pointed out.
Substantial investment in new oil, gas and petrochemical projects in the region is likely to boost regional steel consumption and create steel-intensive downstream industries in the next ten years or so. Among the steel products required for these developments will be hot rolled coil, plate and heavy sections. Emirates Steel is currently one of the largest steelmakers in the MENA region with the capacity to produce one million metric tons of heavy sections per year, including beams, columns, channels, angles and sheet piles. It may also start production of HRC in few years’ time.
Up till now, the company’s Heavy Sections Mill has been producing parallel-flange beams, columns and bearing piles with up to 914 millimeter web depth and 419 flange widths and parallel flange channels up to 430 millimeter depth. This structural steel is produced to norms such as EN, BS, W & JIS against grades such S275JR, S355JR/JO/J2, ASTM A572 G50 and A992. The company is also developing its own bespoke sheet piling designs, which will be manufactured in grades meeting the EN S355 GP, S390 GP and S430 GP standards.
According to the latest available reports, the oil and gas sector in the GCC region plans to invest around $700 billion to boost its capacities. To respond to these and other developments, the GCC steel sector aims to spend over $18 billion to accommodate growth and meet extra demand, the reports say.
Encouraged by this positive climate, Emirates Steel increased its production capacity levels in stages by 2012 to 3.5 million metric tons following two expansion projects and the investment of AED 10 billion, which is approximately $2.72 billion. “The new plants we have commissioned are delivering operational results ahead of expectations, supporting our contribution to the broadening of the Emirate’s GDP, increasing our revenues substantially, growing our share in domestic markets to nearly 60 per cent, and creating high quality job opportunities for our UAE Nationals,” Al Romaithi commented.
This ongoing continuous product development moves Emirates Steel further into international markets, competing globally with the world’s most highly reputed steelmakers in high value niche markets. The company is well positioned both geographically and strategically to become the region’s major supplier to steel intensive construction, oil & gas, petrochemical and infrastructure projects.