ABU DHABI: Emirates Aluminium (Emal), a joint venture between Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala and Dubai Aluminum, is planning a further smelter expansion around 2017, its CEO said.
The group is on track to complete its $ 4 billion phase two by the end of 2014, when it capacity will rise to 1.3 million tons from the current 800,000 tons a year, making it one of the largest single-site smelters in the world.
The global aluminum industry is already facing a massive stock overhang, which is growing each month as smelters produce more than the world economy needs.
Emal is still planning to build more capacity, however, as it expects demand for aluminum to rise from 46 million tons to 60 million tons by 2015, Emal CEO Saeed Al-Mazrooei told reporters during a visit to the smelter complex sited between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
“The international market is growing for aluminum in many countries — China, India, Brazil, the US. This demands us to grow,” he said.
Asked if a third phase could be launched around 2017, Al-Mazrooei said he hoped so, adding that the company’s state-backed owners would unveil details later.
Emal exports the majority of its production to the US, Europe, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Only about 200,000 tons is consumed locally, he said.
Emal, which burns vast quantities of natural gas to make the electricity it needs to operate the energy-intensive aluminum industry, has secured supplies for phase one and two from Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. (ADNOC), Al-Mazrooei said.
Cheap gas supplied to state-linked industry has driven a boom of energy-intensive development in the UAE over the last decade which, combined with rapid immigration, has turned the UAE from a gas exporter into a net gas importer.
Because there is not enough gas to go around, Dubai, which owns half of Emal, has to import increasing volumes of expensive liquefied natural gas (LNG) from around the world to meet demand for electricity.