Market sources attribute the excessive consumption of energy at the plant of defunct Halyvourgiki to the production of oxygen for another company.
A few days ago Public Power Corporation stopped supplying electricity to the historic steel producer after Halyvourgiki had run up debts of more than 30 million euros in unpaid bills. In a statement this week, PPC wondered why a plant that ceased steel production in 2015 continues to consume so much power, equal to that consumed by large clients such as Athens International Airport.
Well-informed sources claim the power goes toward the production of oxygen, which had continued at the Halyvourgiki plant after it ceased steel production. Oxygen is necessary for the production of steel and, as the firm’s website states, the need for the use of pure oxygen led in the early 1960s to the installation of three oxygen-producing units, with an output capacity of 7,500-8,000 cubic meters per hour. These units bear the construction and maintenance seal of the Linde Group, a German multinational which set up a local subsidiary, Linde Hellas, in 1963.
Of course oxygen has several other uses: In hospitals it is used to help patients breathe while it is sold to people with respiratory problems for home use. Large quantities of oxygen are used for various other purposes, such as in the production of ammonia and methanol.
Linde Hellas’s focuses mainly on the production and sale of medical and industrial gas, and sources from the company confirm it has an active cooperation contract with Halyvourgiki. That deal, according to other sources, includes Linde’s right to sell to the Greek market any excessive quantities of oxygen that Halyvourgiki produces, for which Linde pays the production costs. Such deals also exist with rival steel plants, either for Linde or Air Liquide. PPC says if products other than steel are manufactured by Halyvourgiki, the firm has broken the terms of its contract with the utility.