Bad Soden, Deutschland,

M²M: Messer convinces Mittal

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, is implementing its planned expansion in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the help of German industrial gases specialist Messer. Flexibility was essential.

ArcelorMittal is expanding its production capacity at the Zenica steelworks in Bosnia-Herzegovina and, to meet its requirements for industrial gases, has negotiated an oxygen and argon supply concept with Hessen-based company Messer. The contract to support the steel giant in the implementation of its plans is worth around 20 million euros to Messer, the largest privately managed provider of industrial gases. ArcelorMittal is in the process of reconstructing the integrated route of the steel production facility at the Zenica steelworks. This project involves reconstruction of the coke plant, sinter plant, blast furnace, BOF and power plant, as well as railroad reconstruction. This integrated facility would have a production capacity of one million tonnes of steel.

In 2004, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, had acquired the majority of shares in BH Steel (formerly part of Željezara Zenica) – the largest employer in the region. This complex currently operates an electric arc furnace with a capacity of 800,000 tonnes of steel. It produces long products from its downstream facility. It also has a small forging facility. The oxygen that is required for its current operations is supplied by Messer in tankers from Serbia and Croatia. Messer now faces the following challenge: from the middle of 2008, the Zenica’s operations will require over 15,000 cubic meters of oxygen per hour. Messer and ArcelorMittal have together developed a flexible concept. In the short term, the industrial gases specialist will modernize the existing oxygen production facilities, thereby enabling the oxygen required for this development phase to be produced on site. This phase will be operational from December 2007. At the same time, a new air separation plant will be built, which will meet the plant’s full demand for industrial gases from the middle of 2008.

Messer is able to deliver the extreme flexibility required for this project in terms of plant engineering by virtue of its joint venture with Hangyang, the largest Chinese manufacturer of air separation plants. The new production base for industrial gases in Zenica is a great opportunity for the city. Industrial gases are as important as water and electricity for many manufacturing companies. This will open up new opportunities for new industrial growth in Zenica.