The recently established Gulf Cement Company (GCC) is planning to appoint a consultant by the end of June for its grassroots cement plant at Umm Bab. The appointment is expected to be swiftly followed by the release of tender documents for the equipment supply package on the fast-track project, which is targeted for completion by mid-2008. Capitalised at QR 800 million ($219 million), GCC completed in mid-April an initial public offering (IPO) for 80 per cent of its shares, in a transaction that was nine times oversubscribed (MEED 28:4:06).
'We are fast-tracking the project as cement is desperately needed here in Doha,' GCC's chairman Abdulla Nasser al-Misnad told MEED on 30 May. 'For the equipment supply package, we plan to receive bids by November and make an award by the end of the year. We have two options for implementing the project: either as a turnkey contract or the conventional route.'On completion, the plant will have capacity of 5,000 tonnes a day (t/d), with the expectation that it will be doubled in five years.GCC will only be the state's second cement producer after Qatar National Cement Company (QNCC), which announced in late May that partial commissioning of its new 4,000 t/d cement line would begin in late June. Full commissioning of the Umm Bab line, scheduled for late 2006, will take QNCC's capacity up to about 10,000 t/d. Another expansion is planned by QNCC, which has applied to the government to build a fourth cement line of 4,500-5,000 t/d.Doha is suffering severe cement shortages, leading to delays in projects and spiralling cement prices. Actual cement demand is estimated at up to 25,000 t/d and despite attempts to import product, contractors complain of having to wait several weeks for concrete deliveries.