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BBC Zarate Delivers Steel for Major Austrian Investment into South Texas

Rob Almeida
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August 18, 2014

Image courtesy Port of Corpus Christi

With the Eagle Ford development producing huge amounts of cheap natural gas, companies such as Austria’s voestalpine are making major investments into South Texas to take advantage.

10,000 tons of structural steel and equipment arrived today at Corpus Christi’s Cargo Dock 9 on board the M/V BBC Zarate which will be used to construct voestalpine’s nearby $750 million Hot Briquetted Iron (HBI) facility.

The Port of Corpus Christi notes that the facility will process iron to remove impurities resulting in HBI that will ultimately be used for high quality sheet steel for high end automobiles among other applications. The facility is scheduled to be operational by 2016 and will support the full time employment of 150 people in the local area.

corpus christi bbc zarate
Passing under the Corpus Christi harbor bridge, image: Port of Corpus Christi

Two million tons of high quality HBI will be produced annually using natural gas as a reduction agent in the direct reduction process.

“This is such a significant move forward towards the completion of voestalpine, Texas project. The port appreciates voestalpine’s selection of La Quinta as the site of their US manufacturing facility. Their investment brings diversification to the economy of South Texas and their commitment to environmental stewardship balances the benefits of economic expansion and job creation with a sensitivity to our region’s natural beauty.” Said Judy Hawley, Port Commission Chair.

Approximately half of the HBI will be exported to voestalpine’s plants in Linz and Donawitz, Austria for the production of steel. The rest will be procured by international customers, and to supply voestalpine’s strategic reserves.

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