Qatar Steel (Qasco) is expected to release the tender for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its $1bn plant expansion in June.

Qasco has already procured the equipment for the plant from Austria’s Siemens Steel and is now looking for a company to take charge of the civil works, steel erecting and utilities.

Qasco’s DRI production distribution*
Internal consumption 70%
Carbon driexport 19%
Hot briquetted iron 11%
*=2009. DRI=Direct-reduced iron.Source: Qasco 

“Qasco will novate the plant equipment over to the winning bidder of the EPC package,” a source familiar with the deal says. “Sometimes they novate or sometimes they tender the whole deal to a consortium.”

The exact value of the EPC contract is not known.

Siemens Steel was awarded the plant equipment contract for the 1.1 million tonnes-a-year facility in March. The plant will include an arc furnace, ladle furnace and a high-speed billet caster and the engineering and fabrication will be carried out in Austria (MEED 22:4:11).

Engineering work has already started and sources say all of the equipment will be ready in time for the construction phase, with commissioning due for 2013.

Qasco has also been planning to build a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant at its complex in Mesaieed, but this has now been put on hold until issues regarding feedstock can be ironed out.

“No one seems to know the exact reason behind the delay on the dri plant,” a source says. “I have been told there is a problem with the gas supply and that coal has been mooted as an alternative, but there is no way a coal-fired dri plant would not be given the go-ahead in Qatar.”

Qasco was not available to comment on either the EPC tender or the DRI plant when contacted by MEED.

Qasco is owned by Industries Qatar, which is 30 per cent owned by public shareholding and 70 per cent owned by Qatar Petroleum (QP).