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Nucor takes Louisiana DRI plant offline again

Pittsburgh — Nucor has halted production at its Louisiana DRI facility, it said Friday, adding it did not yet have a timeline for restart.

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"Nucor Steel Louisiana has experienced an equipment failure that has temporarily stopped production at our DRI plant," the company said in a statement sent in response to a query from S&P Global Platts.

"Due to the nature of the DRI process and the cooling time required before we can investigate the problem, we cannot estimate at this time how long it will take to make the necessary repairs," it said. "This stoppage is not expected to disrupt production at any of Nucor's steel mills."

Several market sources had reported hearing about an outage, and the company ceased scheduling natural gas deliveries late Thursday, according to data provided by Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy.

This is the fourth outage at the Louisiana DRI facility this year. The most recent and longest took place from July 26 to September 28. It was initially expected to be a temporary outage for repairs to the material-handling system.

In mid-April, Nucor said the 2.5 million mt/year facility would undergo an unplanned maintenance outage in order to make repairs to a feed belt. That work took approximately one week.

The first unplanned outage of the year was a five-week outage that began in early February related to an equipment failure.

DRI can help reduce the need for prime scrap and pig iron in Nucor's electric-arc furnaces. After the US' November scrap buy week early this month, prime scrap prices have come down about $10 on average, but still hold a premium over shredded scrap averaging around $67/lt, according to Platts data.

--Joe Eckelman,
--Edited by Lisa Miller,