Qatalum on traget

The Qatalum aluminium project is on track for start-up at the year-end 2009. The plant buildings are now gradually rising from the flat, sandy landscape of the Mesaieed Industrial Park in Qatar.

​​​HECTIC: The Qatalum construction site is a hectic place, where almost 15,000 construction workers are currently busy building the aluminium plant. (Click the picture for large version! See also slideshow below.)

During a recent visit, Hydro's CEO and President Eivind Reiten witnessed the progress made on the project himself and he was duly impressed.

"It's an impressive site, and it's particularly pleasing that they have come this far with a very good health, safety and environment (HSE) record," he says.​

“The last time I was here there was not so much to see on the surface. But now you can picture what the Qatalum site will look like when it’s finished. I congratulate everyone involved in this tremendous effort and hope the rest of the project progresses equally successfully.”

15,000 construction workers

At the moment there are almost 15,000 workers on site, though peak manning is expected from December to March when there will be more activity than ever.

JOINT VENTURE: Hydro and Qatar Petroleum each hold a 50 per cent stake in the large aluminium plant being built near Doha, the capital of Qatar. (Photo: Jan Terje Halmrast)​

In the potroom buildings there is good progress on the foundations, while steel erection has started and is picking up speed. The paste plant, gas-power plant, office buildings and other buildings are all rising out of the sand, and construction of the jetty is well under way. 


"It's a challenge to build such a large greenfield plant in the Gulf area these days. There are a lot of major investment projects, resulting in an overheated local civil and construction market with lack of skilled laborers and construction materials," says Executive Vice President Tom Røtjer, head of Projects in Hydro.

"We are also keeping a close eye on the financial turmoil to see how it may affect our contractors. But let me add that our main challenge is really the sheer size of the project."