Norwegian aluminium supplier Hydro Aluminium (Hydro) is looking at various options across the Middle East that will complement its $5.8bn 50:50 joint venture, the Qatar Aluminium (Qatalum) smelter project with Qatar Petroleum in Qatar.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Qatalum inauguration on 12 April at Mesaeeid in the Gulf state,  a source said that Hydro was setting up a sales office in Doha and was now looking for opportunities across the Middle East.

“While Hydro will be looking at the phase two expansion of Qatalum in the future, it is also looking for opportunities right across the Middle East,” the source said. “The company has excellent experience in extrusion and other aluminium downstream sectors, so we could expand in those areas.”

When asked if Hydro had any plans to build a metals park around the Qatalum smelter, the source said: “I think the joint venture partners will look at all of the options, but the Middle East market is well catered for at the moment. If another company came to Qatalum with a proposal then I’m sure they would look at it.”

The source also said that Hydro could expand its Middle East operations by making acquisitions, but declined to name any specific company.

The Qatalum smelter will produce 585,000 tonnes-a-year (t/y) of aluminium when at full capacity with the attached casthouse producing 625,000-t/y.