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Alba chairman Shaikh Daij (right) and Alba CEO Tim Murray touring the Line 6 plant

Alba chairman Shaikh Daij (right) and Alba CEO Tim Murray touring the Line 6 plant



Alba commissions Line 6 in record time

This new 1.4-km potline involves the construction of 424 pots in Line 6, using UAE-based Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) proprietary DX+ Ultra Technology

January 2019

Aluminium Bahrain (Alba), last month, finally became the world’s largest aluminium smelter, following the commissioning of Potline 6, which involved energising the pot for the first time.

With this key milestone, Alba, along with Bechtel, the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor, achieved a major construction milestone by successfully producing the first hot metal at its Potline 6 Expansion Project two weeks ahead of the scheduled completion date of January 1, 2019.

This new 1.4-km potline involves the construction of 424 pots in Line 6, using UAE-based Emirates Global Aluminium’s (EGA) proprietary DX+ Ultra Technology.

Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project is one of the largest brownfield developments in the region, which will boost the smelter’s per-annum production by 540,000 metric tonnes, bringing its total production capacity to 1.5 million metric tonnes per year.

“On this dual occasion, the National Day and the commissioning of Potline 6, I would like to express my sincere congratulations and utmost appreciation to Bahrain’s leadership for their guidance and wise directives, and to the government for endorsing Alba’s Line 6 Expansion Project and for trusting us to achieve this landmark project,” said Alba’s chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman bin Daij Al Khalifa.

Alba team at the commissioning of its potline 6

Alba team at the commissioning of its potline 6

“Celebrating the commissioning of Potline 6 during the much-awaited National Day celebration makes it all the more significant as it will always be remembered,” remarked Sheikh Daij.

“We are also very pleased to have started the commissioning of Potline 6 safely ahead of schedule and for that I would like to thank Bechtel, our EPCM contractor for Line 6 Expansion Project Smelter, and Alba’s Executive Management for their hands-on orchestration as well as our employees and contractors for embracing extreme ownership,” he stated.

“This milestone precedes the gradual ramp-up of 424 pots in Potline 6 which upon completion will make Alba the largest smelter in the world,” he added.

Bechtel’s Mining and Metals Global Business Unit president Paige Wilson dubbed it as a world-class achievement for Bahrain, Alba and Bechtel.

“We are very proud of this achievement. The Alba Potline 6 Project’s 24-month schedule to First Hot Metal, or first aluminium, is six months faster than the industry standard. This is a world-class achievement for Bahrain, Alba and Bechtel. This success was only made possible thanks to the very strong collaborative relationship Alba and Bechtel have formed,” stated Wilson.

As of November 30, 2018, Line 6 smelter’s overall progress exceeded 77 per cent (engineering progressed by more than 96 per cent while contracts and procurement advanced by 97 per cent). Thanks to the project’s steady progress, the Power Station 5 is nearing completion with over 80 per cent of the work already over and  power distribution system overall progress exceeded 96 per cent.

The Bahrain aluminium giant had signed up Bechtel for the project as the EPCM contractor with the responsibility to design and construct Potline 6 and support industrial services in April 2016 and received NTP in January 2017. This project builds on a relationship between Alba and Bechtel that spans more than 25 years.

Bechtel had previously served as EPCM contractor for the Line 4 and 5 expansions as well.

Alba is one of the largest industrial companies in the Middle East and is one of the top 10 largest aluminium producers in the world. Originally incorporated in 1968, the company is based in Bahrain and 84 per cent of its total workforce are Bahraini nationals. It began operations in 1971 with a 120,000 metric tonne annual capacity. Modernisation bumped the output up to 450,000 metric tonnes in 1992. In the spring of 2005, Alba opened Line 5, raising output by 860,000 metric tons per year. In 2016 Alba’s smelter produced 971,420 metric tonnes of primary aluminium.

Alba produces more than 981,000 metric tonnes per annum of the highest grade aluminium wherein close to 45 per cent of its output is supplied to Bahrain’s downstream aluminium industry while the rest is exported to the rest of the world.

Line 6’s capital expenditure totals $3 billion (BD1.1 billion), in addition to the 1,792 megawatt Power Station 5 (PS 5) and related industrial services. EGA and Alba’s collaboration marked the first time an Emirati industrial company had internationally licensed its large-scale technology.

Alba’s board approved Line 6’s expansion in June 2015, with the company securing natural gas supply for the scheme in November that year.

US construction giant Bechtel worked as the EPCM contractor for Alba’s Line 6, while PS 5 saw the GE and Gama Consortium involved as its engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor. Siemens was involved as the power distribution system contractor for PS 5.

Front-end engineering design studies for Line 6 were completed in Q1 2017, whilst construction site work began in Q2 2017, with mass earthworks completed on schedule in Q3 of the same year. First concrete for Potline 6’s foundation was laid in May 2017, with total concrete foundations expected to reach 85,000m3 upon completion.




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