Oman: Pedal to the metal"
With a recent milestone achieved in aluminum production and major expansions planned in the steel sector, Oman is becoming an increasingly prominent player in the global metals industry. On August 20, three years after launching operations, Sohar Aluminium’s smelter produced its one millionth ton of aluminum – an achievement the firm’s executives have said demonstrates the plant’s value for the Sultanate. The company is looking to secure additional natural gas supplies from the government to support efforts to expand its production facility. With an additional $3 billion in investment, it hopes to upgrade the 1000-MW power plant that supplies energy to the smelter and to double capacity, bringing total production to 720,000 tons per year. Meanwhile, Jindal Steel & Power, the Indian firm that owns the Jindal Shadeed Iron & Steel plant in Sohar, has plans to expand its facilities in Oman, to be paid for with most of a recently acquired $475 million loan. Jindal bought Shadeed Iron & Steel for $464 million last year and officially took over operations in July 2010. Shortly after assuming ownership, Jindal commissioned the construction of a direct reduction unit to produce hot briquetted iron and hot direct reduced iron, both of which result from a specialized chemical process that directly reduces iron ore. The unit, which has a capacity of around 1.5 million tons per year, began operations in December 2010, well ahead of the March 31, 2011 target date. The facility commenced exports of hot briquetted iron in late February. The company’s further expansion plans are set to be carried out in two phases and include the construction of a steel melting shop, rolling mills to increase downstream production and a direct reduced iron module with a capacity of 2 million tons per year. The company has not mentioned what the individual phases will cost, though D K Saraogi, the executive president of Jindal Shadeed, has said the company hopes to increase capacity to 4 million tons per year by 2015-16. Source: Oxford Business Group"
Saudi Aramco seeks partners in upstream technologies"
Saudi Aramco announced that the company will be holding its first European Technology Quest in Aberdeen, Scotland on October 10-12, 2011. The invitation-only event brings together the world’s top scientists and researchers to discuss opportunities to collaborate with Saudi Aramco in the development of breakthrough upstream technologies. The three-day symposium will focus on several research domains, including computational modeling, geophysics, geology, production, drilling and reservoir engineering. Saudi Aramco is looking to collaborate during the conceptual/ research stages of technology development that address specific upstream technology challenges within these fields. At the symposium, researchers and scientists working in conceptual and research stages of development will have the opportunity to present their proposals to representatives from Saudi Aramco’s Upstream Advanced Research Center in the Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Center (EXPEC ARC). “The focus of Technology Quest is to develop new, high impact, upstream technologies in order for Saudi Aramco to help meet the world’s future energy demand. We believe forming partnerships is critical in achieving this goal. This year we are building on our success of the previous two Technology Quest events and seeking collaboration with technology providers in Europe,” said EXPEC ARC’s Manager Samer AlAshgar. Source: Global Arab Network"
Rusal interested in Iran, denies talks"
The world's largest aluminum producer, UC Rusal, is interested in expanding in Iran but denied a newspaper report it was in talks to build a 375,000 tons per year aluminum smelter there. ""Rusal is interested in business development and diversification of its aluminum production geography, aiming to be close to the fastest developing markets,"" it said in a statement. ""The company is constantly examining various opportunities and Iran is one of numerous options for examination. There are no exact plans and the company does not hold any project discussions in this country."" The Kommersant newspaper reported Rusal was looking at a partnership to build a $1 billion smelter, to consist of two potlines of equal size, and a 650-megawatt power station. Russia, whose biggest gas firm once withdrew from Iran's energy sector due to tightening international sanctions, built the Islamic state's Bushehr nuclear power plant, which joined the grid earlier this month. Source: Reuters"
UAE sees strong growth in industrial sector"
The UAE has recorded a strong growth in the industrial sector in 2010 where investments increased by Dh 29.024 billion ($7.903 billion), an increase of 35.76%. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansoori, the UAE Minister of Economy, said that the ministry has adopted an effective strategy to develop the performance of the industrial sector in order to increase its contribution towards the GDP to 25% in the coming years. Al Mansoori was speaking on the occasion of the issuance of the semi-annual report for 2011 from the Industrial Affairs Sector in the ministry. According to the report, the industrial licenses department at the Ministry approved during the first half of this year the renewal of 225 licenses, issued 1,375 industrial licenses and 3,000 customs exemptions. The ministry also completed the industrial licensing system, which allows access to the initial approval and renewal of the license and industrial renewal and payment of registration in the system of industrial licensing and exemption of customs service. Source: TradeArabia News"
Abu Dhabi industrial zone lures Asian investors"
Abu Dhabi's mammoth new industrial zone is wooing investors from Asia to set up shop and help the emirate diversify its economy away from oil, its top official said. Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) at Taweelah, midway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, spans an area of 421 square kilometers (two-thirds the size of Singapore), and is the largest industrial area in the UAE. The $7.2 billion phase one development is set to be operational before the end of 2012, with other phases to follow amid plans to create industrial clusters around a new port. In the meantime, top management has been busy marketing the project in Asia, and lining up collaborations with Asian banks to make future investments easier. Source: Reuters"
Saudi Arabia: Industry set for the long haul"
Saudi Arabia’s petrochemicals industry is about to get a massive boost, with a new $20 billion plant in the works and extensive state spending on infrastructure set to further improve the nation’s logistics backbone. Before the full benefits are realized, however, the sector may have to endure a down period as the recovery of the global economy continues to falter. On July 25, Saudi Aramco announced it had formed a joint venture with the Dow Chemical Company to build and operate what will be one of the world’s largest petrochemicals production facilities. The plant, to be located at the Jubail Industrial City some 100 kilometers north-west of Dammam on the Gulf, will house 26 manufacturing units, with initial construction work set to begin before the end of August. The venture, which will operate under the name Sadara Chemical, will make polyurethanes, propylene oxide, propylene glycol, elastomers and polyethylene, with projected sales being around $10 billion a year, which could translate to annual profits of $1 billion once the plant reaches full capacity in 2016. Announcing the launch of Sadara, Khalid Al Falih, the president and chief executive officer of Saudi Aramco, said the joint venture would break new ground in the campaign to develop the country’s industrial capacity. Source: Oxford Business Group"
Russia in zinc mining deal with Iran"
Russia has agreed to develop an Iranian zinc deposit that is among the largest in the world in a deal involving an Iranian bank that faces international sanctions, the Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported. The agreement to develop the Mehdiabad zinc and lead deposit was reached at a trade meeting on September 11 that brought Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko to Iran, Kommersant reported. Citing a source close to the talks, it said the project's cost was estimated at $1 billion-$1.2 billion. Shmatko's office did not immediately comment on the report. Kommersant said the deal, shepherded by powerful Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, calls for a joint venture linking state conglomerate Russian Technologies with Iran's Saderat Bank, which faces US and UN sanctions. The source said Iran was insisting on participation of the state-owned export-focused Saderat Bank, which was named in a 2008 UN Security Council resolution, approved by Russia, that tightened sanctions on Tehran for its nuclear activities. Source: Reuters"
Samsung C&T wins $579m Emal order"
South Korea's Samsung C&T Corp said that it has won a 658.8 billion won ($579.3 million) order to build a thermal power plant from Emirates Aluminium Company (Emal) in the UAE. The contract would last until June 2014, Samsung said in a statement. Emal last month said it awarded more than $700 million in contracts for the expansion of its Al Taweelah smelter. Phase Two will almost double production capacity to 1.3 million metric tons. It will involve building the world's longest smelting line covering 1.7kilometers and making Emal one of the world's largest single-site aluminum producers. Source: Gulf Industry Online"
Korea, US firms win $3.5bn project in Egypt"
South Korea's SK Engineering & Construction recently said that a joint venture it operates with a US company had signed a $3.5 billion deal to build a petrochemicals complex in Egypt. The project will come up at Ain Sukhna, an energy hub on the Gulf of Suez. The unlisted South Korean builder said in a statement that it and US engineering company Shaw Group plan to construct the complex from 2012 to 2016 under the agreement made with Egypt private company Carbon Holdings. Source: Reuters"
Alba plans major smelter expansion"
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), one of the largest aluminum smelters in the world, said it is planning a major expansion of its sixth smelter. Earlier this month, Energy Minister Dr. Abdulhussain Mirza received Alba chairman Mahmoud Al Kooheji who outlined potential needs in electricity, which would amount to 717 megawatts. They discussed pumping more natural gas for Alba and supplying the company with an additional 228 megawatts in summer and 268 megawatts in winter from the grid of the Electricity and Water Authority (EWA), from 2014. Dr. Mirza urged National Oil and Gas Authority and EWA officials to study the project and suggest proposals to carry it out. Present were EWA acting chief executive officer Adnan Fakhro, Oil and Gas Affairs director-general Jassim Al Shirawi and other senior officials. Source: TradeArabia News"