Eagle Ford Gas Draws Steelmakers to Texas' Coastal Bend

Rigzone: The Corpus Christi area is no stranger to large industrial facilities, but iron and steel manufacturing is a new industry for the Coastal Bend. How does the region's background with the oil refining and petrochemicals industries complement a grassroots plant for making iron or steel?

Pastl: voestalpine benefits from the industrial background of the Coastal Bend Region. South Texas appreciates modern, progressive industries which will implement state-of-the-art emission control technology. Moreover, voestalpine's plant will contribute to the region's ongoing diversification efforts.

Rigzone: Voestalpine considered locating the new direct reduction facility at any of 17 sites in eight countries. What factors were you looking at as you narrowed down your choices, and what other regions did you consider? Did any of them have a long history of iron and steel manufacturing?

Pastl: Three factors determine the ideal location of a direct reduction facility:

  • stable supply of affordable natural gas
  • deep-sea access
  • sound and stable political and legal framework.

We looked at South America (Brazil), Canada (Quebec, Nova Scotia), Middle East (Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain), Trinidad, United States (Texas and Louisiana) and other regions. In the Coastal Bend, we have found the right framework and the right partners – Port of Corpus Christi Authority, communities, etc. – to realize our project.

Rigzone: Why did the Corpus Christi area, and specifically the La Quinta Trade Gateway, come out ahead in your selection process?

Pastl: In our industry there is no such thing as "quick money." Hence, you need a framework which understands sustainable and long-term business models. The Coastal Bend offered the unique combination of the right "hard" factors (e.g., natural gas supply, infrastructure, logistics) and "soft" factors (openness towards heavy industry, appreciation of long-term business models and environmental stewardship).

Rigzone: What new businesses will voestalpine's direct reduction facility support? For instance, what sort of suppliers and service companies will – or have – set  up shop to cater to your needs during operations?

Pastl: At voestalpine, maintenance has a very high priority. From our experiences in Europe we will create a variety of business opportunities for numerous industries, mainly related to maintenance, engineering, testing, logistics services and others. voestalpine has always been committed to maximizing local content and supporting local businesses; hence we will make use of local contractors whenever possible.


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Craig williams  |  April 06, 2014
It is awesome to see this. I did 9 yrs in the Coastal Bend, and this is a HUGE shot in the arm. A win win