Regional News

Qatalum’s potroom ... officially launched last month.

Qatalum’s potroom ... officially launched last month.

$5.7bn Qatalum plant to meet rising demand

May 2010

THE $5.7-billion Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) plant, which was inaugurated last month, is set to add 585,000 tonnes of primary aluminium annually to the world’s supply and help meet global demand for the metal growing at five to seven per cent this year.

The newest player in the world aluminium market utilises stakeholder Norske Hydro’s advanced proprietary electrolytic reduction cell technology designed to give a combination of low investment costs, high productivity, low energy consumption and reduced emissions. A patented extraction system collects 99.5 per cent of the gases from the process with optimal energy use.
Technology mobilised by Hydro, the joint owner of Qatalum with Qatar Petroleum (QP), uses 25 per cent less energy than the average cell back in 1990, the Norwegian company said. According to Hydro, emissions of perfluorocarbons (PFCs) will be less than 0.3 per cent per tonne of aluminium produced, well below the global average. The plant, officially opened last month by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in the presence of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, is located in Mesaieed Industrial City, and expects to reach full capacity in the fourth quarter of this year.
The plant’s main products will be extrusion ingots and foundry alloys although the casthouse will also be capable of producing standard primary ingots. The products have applications in building and construction, transportation, general engineering, household durables and leisure among other areas.
Qatalum began production late last year and sent its first exports – foundry alloys – to India. The company will import 1.1 million tonnes of alumina, 223,000 tonnes of coke and 50,000 tonnes of liquid pitch per year in order to produce 585,000 tonnes of the primary metal annually.
QP is supplying approximately 200 million standard cu ft of natural gas per day to Qatalum’s power plant in order to create 1,350 MW of electricity in a state-of-the-art combined cycle power plant.
Several firms were involved in various aspects of the Qatalum complex which rose in just 30 months since the foundation stone was laid. The project remained on time and budget through a highly demanding construction phase – marked first by an unprecedented economic boom, then by an economic downturn. Hydro managed the construction project including the main contractors and more than 200 subcontractors when on site.
The contractor for the $900-million 1,350- MW power plant was a consortium of General Electric and Doosan Heavy Industries Construction Company. The facility entails a configuration that includes four F-Class gas tubines plus two steam engines.
ABB successfully commissioned 10 complete rectifier units at the complex, as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the rectifier stations.
Salzburger Aluminium of Australia supplied 27,000 tonnes of busbar materials.
Kempe Engineering Service of Australia was the EPC contractor for the anode service plant, while China Great Wall Construction Corporation was responsible for the anode superstructures. The contract for the potshells was undertaken by Ahmed Mansoor Al Ali Company (AMA) of Bahrain.
Canada’s SNC Lavalin executed a $700-million contract to build the potroom as well as the administration and service buildings, general infrastructure and utilities, and the harbour facilities.
A $750-million contract for the installation of reduction cells and potroom equipment was implemented by Dutco McConnell Dowell, a joint venture of the UAE-based Dutco and Australian firm McConnell Dowell. The contractor for the pot tending machines was Germany’s NKM Noell Special Cranes.
ABB of Norway was the contractor for the HAL3000 pot control system, while FATA of Italy and K Home International  of the UK built the casthouse and anode plant under a contract worth worth $500 million.
Solios Environment of France worked on the fume treatment plants including distribution systems, while the jetty and seawater intake facilities were the responsibility of Archirodon Construction (Overseas) Dubai branch.
A major project related to the Qatalum plant was the construction village. The contractor Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company (Satco) of Saudi Arabia provided detailed EPC and commissioning of the 10,000-man village.

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