Offshore structural steel design and material requirements continue to present increasing challenges for the steelmaker and fabricators. Niobium-bearing steels currently play a key role in meeting these objectives through the Nb-grain refinement mechanism of the microstructure and cost effective steelmaking. These steels possess a combination of exceptional properties with high strength, excellent weldability, high toughness at low temperature, good ductility, excellent corrosion resistance, and high formability. Reduced variation of Charpy toughness through the thickness of heavy plates is imperative in these offshore platforms to enhance reliability and performance. Toughness variation can be reduced through the proper continuous casting and hot rolling mechanical metallurgy process. These high-performance steels (HPS) possess an optimized balance of these properties to provide maximum cost effective performance in offshore structures at strength levels from 355 to 700MPa with excellent corrosion resistance. This combination of good strength-toughness balance, excellent weathering properties and reduced preheat temperatures for welding in these low carbon Nb-structural steels result in significant cost savings. These enhancements provide structural engineers the opportunity to further improve the structural design and offshore platform performance. Lower carbon Nb-alloy designs have exhibited reduced operational production cost at the steel mill as well, thereby embracing the value-added attribute Nb provides to benefit both the producer and the end user throughout the supply chain.

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