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Beijing unveils tough winter curbs on North China mills

Posted on 15 October 2021

Production among steel mills in North China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be constrained between November 15 and March 15 in order to fulfil Beijing’s crude steel output reduction target and to improve air quality in the region, according to a notice jointly released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) on October 13.

 

Since 2017, it’s become a common practice among local government authorities in this region to curb steel production during the winter months as air quality generally deteriorates between late October through end-March when coal-fired central heating systems to households come into full use, as reported.

However, unlike in previous years when the operational constraints were generally uniform throughout the season, according to the October 13 release the output reductions during this winter will be in two phases, each with a different objective.

The first phase runs over November 15-December 31 where the key task will be to ensure that Beijing’s crude steel reduction target for this region is fulfilled, the release states.

The central government had earlier directed that the country’s crude steel output this year should not exceed that of 2020, and Hebei province had pledged to cut its crude steel output by 21.71 million tonnes from that of last year, as reported.

In the second phase spanning January 1 to March 15 2022, the objective will be to reduce atmospheric emissions during the winter heating season, according to the MIIT-MEE notice. “In principle, steelmakers should cut 30% off their crude steel output, relative to their production during the same period of last year,” it reads.

Chinese domestic market sources suggest that the different focus takes into consideration the need for improved air quality for the convening of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games to be held next February in Beijing, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou (the latter two cities being in Hebei).

This winter, the curbs will apply to steelmakers in the so-called “2+26” cities in this region, but the notice also stated that another eight cities should follow the guidance. These are Chengde, Zhangjiakou and Qinhuangdao in Hebei, Linfen in North China’s Shanxi province, and Rizhao, Linyi, Weifang and Tai’an cities in East China’s Shandong province, Mysteel Global notes.

In line with a previous draft of winter curbs released in September covering a larger scope of sectors and regions (https://www.mysteel.net/article/5025793/Beijing-widens-the-reach-of-its-winter-production-curbs-.html ), targeted steel mills will be ranked based on their performance in terms of energy consumption, environmental protection and production safety, as well as the technical sophistication of their equipment and processes. The severity of the production constraints imposed will differ in accordance with the category they are assigned by the authorities, as reported.

 

Local governments are asked to submit the ranking they assign to each mill under their jurisdiction and the detailed production restriction plans by October 20, the notice said. From December onwards, the local governments are required to report to the MIIT and MEE on progress relating to the implementation of the curbing plans by the 15th of each month, it also said.

 

Source : Mysteel Global