DTE to shut Shenango coke plant in Pittsburgh in January

DTE Energy Services (DTEES) on Dec. 17 announced the closure of its Shenango Inc. coke plant in Pittsburgh, effective mid-January, in response to a sharp downturn in the North American steel industry.

A total of 173 employees (including 37 non-union) will be affected at the plant, which produces blast furnace coke and related by-products that assist in the creation of steel. The ovens at the plant bake metallurgical coal into coke.

“The decision to close Shenango has been heartachingly difficult,” said Ronald Burnette, DTE Energy Services Director of Steel. “We understand the impact today’s announcement has on our employees, their families and the community, and are committed to helping employees transition to the next chapter in their careers.

“Unfortunately, global overcapacity in the steel industry and international trade issues have reduced the demand for our product – metallurgical coke. As a result, DTEES is forced to consolidate production to its larger, more efficient facility. We simply have no options for keeping Shenango open.”

In compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, DTE Energy Services on Dec. 17 informed Shenango employees, union and government officials of the company’s decision, including the leadership of the United Steel Workers union in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pa., leadership.

The DTE website lists the Shenango customers as: AK Steel, Midcontinent Coal and Coke, E.J. Bognar, Reutgers, Citgo Petroleum, Wilson Industrial Sales, Ashland Specialty Chemical and Calgon Carbon. Merchantable by-products from the coke plant include: tar, light oil, ammonium sulfate, steam. buckwheat coke and breeze.

The company’s parent, DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE), is a Detroit-based company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include an electric utility serving 2.1 million customers in Southeastern Michigan and a natural gas utility serving 1.2 million customers in Michigan. The DTE Energy portfolio includes non-utility businesses focused on power and industrial projects, natural gas pipelines, gathering and storage, and energy marketing and trading.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.