Threat of zero production: PSM says gas shortage causing damage to furnaces

Published: June 30, 2015
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The PSM administration said the production of the mill has come down to almost zero due to the suspension of gas supply since June 10, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

The PSM administration said the production of the mill has come down to almost zero due to the suspension of gas supply since June 10, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KARACHI: The Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) on Monday said the non-availability of gas is now utterly damaging its blast furnaces, which may result in the complete shutdown of mills.

In a press release, the PSM administration said the production of the mill has come down to almost zero due to the suspension of gas supply since June 10, 2015.

It said that repeated requests have been made to Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) but they have not shown a positive response.

Now that the blast furnaces are being operated irregularly, it has reduced the inside temperature of furnace.

The mill administration warned that continuous gas stoppage will cause water leakages from the coolers of furnaces that will lead to extensive damage to the furnace structure and may shut down the plant completely.

The release said that PSM engineers and its workforce have worked since April 2014 to bring the mill to certain acceptable production levels. All this hard work may now go down the drain if the current situation persists.

The gas suspension since June 10, 2015 has already made steel making and rolling of slab impossible. Now the only remaining producing unit – blast furnace – is also at risk of severe damage and ultimate closure due to gas stoppage.

The administration added that the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources should intervene and ask SSGC to normalise gas pressure to save the plant in the national interest. The PSM closure will leave the Pakistani steel industry at the mercy of imports and cause losses of millions of dollars to the national exchequer.

Moreover, the financial loss due to zero production has mounted to the highest level which had been considerably reduced by achieving an average of 27% to 30% CAPU during last eight months.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th,  2015.

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