Nippon Steel’s Oita Works Expands Output

Nippon Steel estimates the crude steel production becomes around 8.9 million tonnes at Oita works in fiscal 2005 ending March 2006, which exceeds 8.18 million tonnes in fiscal 2004. Itsuo Takahashi, manager of Oita works, said the production increased due to the capacity expansion of the no.2 blast furnace to 5,775 cubic meters from 5,245 cubic meters at the works. Mr. Takahashi said the no.2 furnace contributes to the output in full scale for fiscal 2005 after the restart in May 2004 though the furnace operates at lower rate in the second half of fiscal 2005. Mr. Takahashi said the hot-rolled flat steel production would decrease to 5.38 million tonnes at Oita works in fiscal 2005 from 5.55 million tonnes in fiscal 2004. He said the annual production is lower than in fiscal 2004 when the firm reduces output to reduce export and domestic sheet shipment under the unfavorable market condition though the hot rolled steel output hit record 550,000 tonnes per month in the first half of fiscal 2005 under the tight supply. Mr. Takahashi said the steel plate production could exceed 1.9 million tonnes at Oita works in fiscal 2005. The works has increased its steel plate output year by year in order to meet the strong domestic demand for shipbuilding. The output increases from 1.4 million tonnes in fiscal 2002, 1.6 million tonnes in fiscal 2003 and 1.7 million tonnes in fiscal 2004. Mr. Takahashi said the monthly steel plate production marked 180,000 tonnes at the peak after the no.2 reheat furnace started operation in February 2005. He said the plate shipment for shipbuilding in fiscal 2005 is in line with 83% of total plate shipment in fiscal 2004 compared with 75% in fiscal 2003.