<p>The Qatalum aluminium plant, once a dream in the desert of Qatar, is about to become a reality – with a royal inauguration.</p>
For more than five years, major parts of Hydro’s organization have worked to make the new primary aluminium plant in Qatar a reality.
On Monday, April 12, at 10.30 CET, the Qatari emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, and Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon will mark the mission accomplished – Qatalum is officially inaugurated.
The inauguration takes place in a ceremony hall in Mesaieed Industrial City, also the home of Qatalum, 40 kilometers south of the capital Doha. It will include everything Qataris like to include in a ceremony.
The Qatari emir and the Norwegian crown prince will be accompanied by no less than three ministers: Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, deputy prime minister and minister for oil and industry from Qatar, Trond Giske, Norway’s minister for Industry and Trade, and Terje Riis-Johansen, Norway’s minister for Oil and Energy. Erik Lahnstein, state secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also a part of the Norwegian delegation.
The board of directors of Hydro, headed by the chairperson Terje Vareberg, and the corporate management board of Hydro, led by President and CEO Svein Richard Brandtzæg, are heading the Hydro delegation to the opening of the company’s largest single project ever.
Norway's largest project abroad
The Qatalum development is the largest Norwegian industrial project abroad. Hydro’s project organization has managed the project, with a total investment of $5.7 billion. First metal was produced – on schedule – in December 2009 and the plant will reach full capacity in the fourth quarter of 2010 – again according to plan.
Qatalum is the result of more than 90 million working hours. More than 56,000 workers from more than 200 companies have been directly involved in the construction in Qatar. In addition comes work by subcontractors that have shipped components to the Gulf state.
Altogether, approximately 650 guests will take part in the opening events. Of these, some 200 are Hydro’s guests, while the rest have been invited by Qatalum directly or by Qatar Petroleum. Qatalum is a 50-50 joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Hydro.
Norway also sees Qatar and the Gulf states as important actors in international issues like the wider Mideast issue and Afghanistan as well as in other issues which also are important for Norway.In addition to taking part in the inauguration events, the Norwegian political delegation will meet with the Qatar’s Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir al-Thani. Norway wants to develop its economic relations with Qatar and the other the Gulf states.
Showcase for Norway
The Minister for Industry and Trade, Trond Giske, also emphasizes the significance of the Qatalum project to Hydro. He also sees the project as an important showcase for cutting-edge Norwegian technology.
The opening ceremony is also attracting widespread media interest. The Norwegian media will also cover the events, and more than 50 news organizations and publications are accredited.