QNCC opened commercial bids in mid-January for the consultancy contract, for which about seven international firms are competing. The FEED package will take two-three months to prepare, allowing for the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) tender to be issued in the third quarter. QNCC is aiming to award the 27-month EPC contract by in the final quarter.

QNCC’s last expansion was completed in 1998 by France’s Fives-Cail Babcock (FCB)and involved the construction of a new 700,000-t/y plant at Umm Bab (MEED 27:1:95).

The capacity of the Umm Bab complex currently stands at 900,000 t/y of clinker and 1.4 million t/y of cement. The expansion is being undertaken to meet a projected surge in local cement demand as a result of an estimated $5,000 million programme to upgrade the state’s infrastructure and Qatar Petroleum’s capital expenditure plan (MEED 17:1:03).

QNCC is not the only local building supplier planning an expansion. Qatar Steel Company (Qasco)unveiled in late 2002 a $300 million-400 million project to expand its Mesaieed plant, which will add 500,000 t/y of steel capacity and 1.2 million t/y of direct reduction iron (DRI) capacity. Qasco has recently appointed the UK’s WS Atkins & Partnersas the technical consultant for the expansion and a team of HSBCand Qatar National Bankas financial adviser (MEED 17:1:03; 22:11:02).