x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

General Electric to equip Emal smelter

Emirates Aluminium (Emal) has selected General Electric to supply US$500 million (Dh1.8 billion) worth of power equipment for the facility.

Duncan Hedditch, CEO of Emirates Aluminum.
Duncan Hedditch, CEO of Emirates Aluminum.

Emirates Aluminium (Emal), which is building the world's largest aluminium smelter at Taweelah, said yesterday it had selected General Electric to supply US$500 million (Dh1.8 billion) worth of power generation equipment for the facility. The $5.6bn smelter, which will produce 700,000 tonnes of aluminium a year when the first stage is completed in 2010, will be powered by a 2,000-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant.

Aluminium smelting is very energy intensive and smelters have been planned across the region to take advantage of cheap natural gas supplies. Duncan Hedditch, the Emal chief executive, was unavailable for comment yesterday, but has said that Emal has been guaranteed gas supplies for 30 years. The deal comes just a week after the Mubadala Development Company, an Abu Dhabi Government investment fund that owns half of Emal, signed its own $8bn high-profile deal with GE.

Emal's order for GE's turbines, however, was concluded separately from the larger relationship between the two companies, said Yousuf Bastaki, the project director for the smelter. "We are a very independent company," he said. "The deal with GE started a long way ahead of the Mubadala-GE partnership." Mr Bastaki said construction of foundations at the site was progressing steadily, and the company would announce contracts for the smelter's pots and supporting structures one of the most expensive parts of the facility in as little as two weeks. Emal awarded a $200m contract for gas treatment facilities, which will scrub the smelter's emissions of harmful pollutants, to Alstom, a French company.

Mr Bastaki said the company would start construction of the facility's steel structure in September. By early next year, 10,000 workers will be on the site, located in the Khalifa Industrial Zone adjacent to a planned petrochemical complex and the future site of the emirate's main deepwater port. @Email:cstanton@thenational.ae