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King Hamad inaugurates Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project.

King Hamad inaugurates Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project.

Bahrain King opens Alba’s Line 6

December 2019

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has officially inaugurated Aluminium Bahrain’s (Alba) brownfield Line 6 Expansion Project, making Bahrain the home of the world’s largest aluminium smelter outside China.

The elaborate opening ceremony last month was attended by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, and other dignitaries.

His Majesty underlined the importance of the milestone, which will enhance Bahrain’s global competitiveness in this important sector, support the national economic development, spur growth and create jobs for citizens.

With a Capex of approximately $3 billion, the Line 6 Expansion Project involved the construction of a sixth pot line using EGA’s proprietary DX+ Ultra Technology, 1,800 MW power station (Power Station 5) utilising the world’s first H-class General Electric (GE) 9HA gas turbine (GT), and other industrial services.

Alba chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, said that the completion of Line 6 project is a great achievement in the era of His Majesty in Bahrain and this monumental event would not have been possible without the directives and support of his wise leadership. He said the project will lead to a tangible shift in the country with the company now contributing 15 per cent of the kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP).  “From 12 per cent, Alba will now contribute 15 per cent to the country’s GDP. This is a powering and remarkable industrial achievement for the country,” he said.

One of the major accomplishments of the project, he said, was that the smelter has been able to achieve substantial savings on the total budget and also the project has been conducted with total transparency.

“We have been able to achieve significant savings of more than $370 million of the budgeted spend on the project, which constitutes 16 per cent of the approved budget for Line 6.

“Part of the savings were used to develop Alba’s dedicated port for the import and handling of raw materials, in addition to financing of some other complementary projects,” added Shaikh Daij.

Line 6 is powered by a Power Station 5), which is considered one of the most efficient power plants in the world, with a production efficiency of 54 per cent in summer and 62 per cent in winter.

The power plant is the largest in Bahrain and has been implemented at the lowest possible cost, along with being one of the most environment friendly.

“In 2019, for example, Alba achieved a massive 12 million work hours without a single lost time injury, strengthening our reputation as one of the safest aluminium smelters in the world.”

The Line 6 project, he said, achieved a safety rate of 43 million hours with the participation of 11,000 workers on site daily during the peak construction period.

Starting-out as a 120,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) smelter in 1971, Alba’s production for 2018 stood at plus-one-million tonnes. The project will boost the smelter’s annual production by 540,000 tonnes this year, bringing its total production capacity to 1.5 million tonnes per year.

According to Shaikh Daij, with the ramp-up of production, approximately 50 per cent of capacity which was added this year will be sold to the downstream aluminium sector in the kingdom, while the rest will be exported, predominantly to the US, Europe and Asia.

According to him, currently 60 per cent of the total output is exported while 40 per cent is sold locally. “A lot of local industrial units are also expanding, we also supply to them,” he said.

Bechtel is the EPCM contractor for the Line 6 Expansion Project smelter. For Power Station 5 (PS 5), GE and GAMA Consortium were awarded the EPC contract, while Siemens is the Power Distribution System contractor.

Brendan Bechtel, chairman and CEO of Bechtel group lauded the company for having commissioned and completed the project way ahead of schedule. The project was commissioned on December 13 last year, with the delivery of the ‘first hot metal’. It has been completed two weeks ahead of schedule, he said.

“Amazing results are possible when partners come together as one team with one mission. And there’s no better example than this Alba, Bechtel, Supplier and Contractor team. You achieved first hot metal six months faster than the industry average. You also delivered this project with a total installed cost significantly better than the benchmark for these projects.

“And you did it safely – 43 million hours worked safely, on a job with 11,000 people on site every day during its peak construction period,” he said.  

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