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Qatar, Hydro's $5.6bn smelter to start in Q4

Doha, April 21, 2009

Qatalum, a $5.6 billion smelter joint venture between Qatar and Norway's Norsk Hydro, is expected to begin commissioning in the fourth quarter and sell its first cargo by early next year, a Qatari official said.

'We expect the first commissioning to be in October or November,' Abdullah Hussain Salatt, an advisor to the country's oil minister, told Reuters late on Monday, adding the firm expected to sell its first cargo in early 2009.

The plant, which will have an overall design capacity of about 585,000 tonnes per year, will target customers in Europe and the Far East, Salatt said.

A Qatar Petroleum executive said in March the smelter may start some production before the first quarter of next year, before ramping up fully.

Hydro has reduced production at some of its plants in Europe as aluminium prices fall and the global economic slowdown hits demand for raw materials such as aluminium, which is used in car manufacturing and construction.

Aluminium producers worldwide have taken about 15 percent of global capacity offline. Companies such as Hydro, which has a 50 per cent stake in Qatalum, are taking advantage of the low production costs in Qatar, the world's biggest producer of liquefied natural gas.-Reuters




Tags: Norsk Hydro | Qatalum | smelter | JV | start |

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