Having become the first company to mass-produce high-manganese steel for cryogenic use, South Korean steel manufacturer POSCO has received approval from energy giant ExxonMobil to use the material to store and transport liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The high strength material was first developed by POSCO in 2013 and is characterised by its wear resistance, cryogenic toughness, and non-magneticity due to the addition of a ‘large amount’ (10-30%) of manganese to iron. 

To maintain the liquid state of LNG, it must be stored at or below -162C. The ‘cryogenic toughness’ shown by POSCO’s high-manganese steel makes it an ideal material for such low temperatures. 

Abundant and relatively inexpensive, manganese is seen as a highly competitive alternative to more expensive alternatives. 

Having held a technical qualification ceremony at the WGC2022 exhibition in Daegu on 25th May, Se-don Choo, Head of POSCO Technical Research Laboratories, said, “I hope that cryogenic high manganese steel approved this time will lead to the supply for global projects, creating another success story for both companies.” 

Having begun technology certification for its steel back in July 2020, POSCO and ExxonMobil expedited the two year process and began discussions around applying the material to ExxonMobil’s overseas LNG projects. 

In 2017, the company won the ‘Deals of Distinction Award’ in the chemical, energy, environment, and materials fields at the 2017 LES (Licensing Executives Society) by successfully supplying high manganese steel for a slurry pipe to ExxonMobil’s curl oil sand project.