The local National Steel Company (Nasco) plans to build a 1.2 million tonnes-a-year (t/y) steel billet plant in Dammam to make up for the shortfall in billets for its rolling mills, a source tells MEED.

The source says that the budget for the plant is still not set, but the facility will be constructed at Dammam Industrial City. A similar facility with a slightly smaller capacity is being constructed by Saudi Iron & Steel Company (Hadeed) at Jubail for $630m.   

“At the moment Nasco is producing almost 3 million-t/y of products from its two rolling mills, but only 1 million-t/y of billets,” the source says. “The company wants to try and plug that gap and this plant is the answer to that.”

The source adds that finance is currently being sought to fund the project and that preliminary discussions have taken place regarding engineering, procurement and construction contracts.   

Nasco, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabia’s Al-Tuwairqi Holding, currently exports billets into the kingdom from its UK-based sister company Thamesmead.

The company has a number of projects that are either currently on hold or have been cancelled such as a $450m rail mill that was due to be built in Dammam.  

“The billet plant is the only [Nasco] project active at the moment,” the source says. “I have heard talk of a phase II that would involve the construction of a seamless pipe mill or something similar, but that will be at least two to three years away.”