Alcan Mulls $3 Billion on Middle East Aluminum Smelter
Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Alcan Inc., the world's second- biggest
aluminum producer, said it may invest $3 billion in new projects
in the Middle East to increase production in countries that
offer cheaper energy supplies.
The company, based in Montreal, is interested in taking equity
stakes in facilities such as the 20 percent interest it has in
the Sohar smelter in Oman, said Anik Michaud, a company
spokeswoman. Alcan will look at projects across the Middle East,
including Saudi Arabia, she said today from Montreal.
The company's interest in spending as much as $3 billion in the
region was reported by Gulf News on Feb. 19, citing Michel
Jacques, the head of Alcan's primary metal unit.
Alcan is boosting aluminum production in countries that offer
cheaper sources of power, such as the Middle East, where
abundant supplies of natural gas are available to run power
plants. Electricity can account for about 30 percent of the cost
of aluminum production. Alcan receives frequent approaches from
potential partners interested in the company's AP series of
smelting technology, Michaud said.
Alcan and partners including Oman Oil Company SAOC and the Abu
Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority are constructing a smelter
capable of producing 350,000 tons a year of aluminum in Sohar,
Oman, by the third quarter of 2008. The construction of the
smelter will cost about $1.7 billion.
Oman, the new favorite of the Gulf is calling upon Turkish
Oman has limited petroleum stocks, but it has gravitated towards
major infrastructure and natural gas projects by using the income it
has obtained via increasing raw petroleum prices. Now, the country
is presenting many opportunities for Turkish investors.
The Oman government, which is looking to make joint investments,
declared tourism as one of the new sectors to develop and called
upon Turkish investors to contribute. Oman's female Tourism Minister
Rajiha bint Abdul Amir highlighted the importance of Turkish
expertise in the sector. The companies making investments in this
sector would be exempt from tax for five years, she said.
Oman provides many opportunities for Turkish contractors including
projects such as infrastructure, new cities, airports and natural
Oman's Transportation Minister Sheikh Mohammed said that there are
currently five airport terminal building projects in the country and
called upon Turkish investors to join the tenders. Also among the
sectors the country is looking to develop are sea transportation and
So far, Turkish contractors' workload in Oman is worth $1.3 billion
and the largest of the investments is ENKA's $933 million Blue City
phase construction. Founded in 1957, with the partnership between
Şarık Tara and the late Sadi Gülçelik, the essence of Enka today
includes the construction of industrial plants, docks, marine
slipways, shipyards, grain silos, bridges, roads and piers.
Turkish constructors also oversee the construction projects of a
liquid cargo terminal, docks along with water transportation
projects and road construction.