The US’ Fluor is looking at two different project execution strategies for the $2.5bn aluminium rolling mill project at Ras al-Zour in Saudi Arabia.

Planned GCC rolling mills
Project Capacity Completion date
Abu Dhabi, UAE 500,000-t/y 2013
Ras al-Zour,Saudi Arabia Up to 460,000-t/y 2013
Sohar, Oman 160,000 2013
Source: MEED

The company is the engineering, procurement, construction and management (EPCM) contractor on the project and is considering either tendering out a number of different packages or tendering out one major EPC package.

“Fluor is currently making enquiries to major equipment suppliers and is running a parallel enquiry for a total EPC approach,” a source familiar with the project says. “If they go ahead with this they would then probably nominate the equipment award to be included in the EPC package.”

“[Fluor] are looking at this project impartially because if it decides to go with a lump-sum approach then it lowers its scope considerably,” the source adds.

The three major technology suppliers are all Europe-based: Germany’s SMS Group, Italy’s Danieli and Austria’s Siemens.

One technology supplier admits that the talks are at the early stages and also believes that it may not just be those three European companies, as the client is a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and the US’ Alcoa which could mean other firms are invited to participate.

“With Alcoa being a partner you may see some companies from the US included,” the technology supplier says. “Not full processes but maybe some of the equipment may have to be sourced from the US for political reasons.”

Invitations to bid for the rolling mill are due to be sent out by the end of 2010.

The rolling mill is part of a $10.8bn aluminium complex and will have a capacity of up to 450,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) when completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. The site will also include a 1.8 million t/y alumina refinery and a 740,000-t/y aluminium smelter, with a 4 million-t/y bauxite mine being built at Al-Baitha.

The US’s Bechtel was awarded the EPCM contract for the smelter and have released about 30 packages. The project is now well advanced with engineering over 20 per cent complete and with some major equipment purchases made.

Maaden holds a 74.9 per cent stake in the aluminium complex, while Alcoa owns the remaining 25.1 per cent.