Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Norwegian Hydro Aluminium have unveiled plans for a 50:50 joint venture US$3bn aluminium smelter complex as part of a strategic thrust on the lucrative global aluminium industry.
The smelter, with an initial annual capacity of 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminium that will use Qatar’s abundant natural gas as feedstock, is scheduled to start production in the last quarter of 2009. “Qatar is an ideal location for serving growing aluminium markets in Asia, Europe and North America,” says Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, second deputy premier and minister of energy and industry.
“The vast gas resources of Qatar, combined with the country’s ambition to diversify its industry will ensure a long-term competitive aluminium plant.” The energy intensive smelter’s full production capacity is expected to reach in mid 2010, eventually to be increased to approximately 1.4mn tonnes per year in the second phase of the project, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The project of Qatalum, the joint venture company, involves the construction and operation of the primary aluminium plant consisting of a smelter, a cast house and carbon plant as well as a dedicated 1, 350MW gas power plant. Raw material for the plant will be supplied from mainly Australia and Brazil.