Maaden, Alcoa aluminum smelter output to top initial target this year

Updated 12 May 2015

Maaden, Alcoa aluminum smelter output to top initial target this year

DUBAI: Saudi Arabian Mining Co. (Maaden) said a massive smelter run jointly with US group Alcoa, which had experienced few technical glitches on start-up, will produce above its initial capacity target this year.
The smelter started commercial operations last year after facing problems during the start-up phase.
Maaden, the Gulf's largest miner, is currently exporting around 70 to 80 percent of the smelter's production, Thomas Walpole, senior vice president, Aluminium, Maaden said at a conference in Dubai.
The smelter had an initial annual capacity of 740,000 tons per year, but this year it is expected to achieve a slightly higher production of 760,000 tons, Walpole said.
"Yes it is slightly above target. Our smelter this year will roughly do 760,000 tons," he said.
"We have seen consistent performance in the last six months."
The $10.8 billion aluminum project is split into different parts, which include a bauxite mine, a refinery, a smelter and a rolling mill.
Walpole said the aluminium refinery was operating at 60 percent of its capacity and was expected to reach full output of 1.8 million tons by the end of 2015.
"We are in the commissioning phase now of the refinery so it's operating at around 60 percent. It should reach full capacity by year-end."
The bauxite mine is also operational, he added.
The project, in Ras Al Khair on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia, is important to Alcoa, both because of its size and the fact it should be the facility with the lowest production costs in the world — important at a time of price volatility.
Alcoa owns 25 percent of the venture, with Maaden holding the balance.


OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

Updated 12 December 2019

OPEC sees small 2020 oil deficit even before latest supply cut

  • OPEC keeps its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and is more upbeat about the outlook

LONDON: OPEC on Wednesday pointed to a small deficit in the oil market next year due to restraint by Saudi Arabia even before the latest supply pact with other producers takes effect, suggesting a tighter market than previously thought.

In a monthly report, OPEC said demand for its crude will average 29.58 million barrels per day (bpd) next year. OPEC pumped less oil in November than the average 2020 requirement, having in previous months supplied more.

The report retreats further from OPEC’s initial projection of a 2020 supply glut as output from rival producers such as US shale has grown more slowly than expected. This will give a tailwind to efforts by OPEC and partners led by Russia to support the market next year.

OPEC kept its 2020 economic and oil demand growth forecasts steady and was more upbeat about the outlook.

“On the positive side, the global trade slowdown has likely bottomed out, and now the negative trend in industrial production seen in 2019 is expected to reverse in 2020,” the report said.

Oil prices were steady after the report’s release, trading near $64 a barrel, below the level some OPEC officials have said
they favor.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, have since Jan. 1 implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to support the market. At meetings last week, OPEC+ agreed to a further cut of 500,000 bpd from Jan. 1 2020.

The report showed OPEC production falling even before the new deal takes effect.

In November, OPEC output fell by 193,000 bpd to 29.55 million bpd, according to figures the group collects from secondary sources, as Saudi Arabia cut supply.

Saudi Arabia told OPEC it made an even bigger cut in supply of over 400,000 bpd last month. The Kingdom had boosted production in October after attacks on its oil facilities in September briefly more than halved output.

The November production rate suggests there would be a 2020 deficit of 30,000 bpd if OPEC kept pumping the same amount and other factors remained equal, less than the 70,000 bpd surplus implied in November’s report and an excess of over 500,000 bpd seen in July. OPEC and its partners have been limiting supply since 2017, helping to revive prices by clearing a glut that built up in 2014 to 2016. But higher prices have also boosted US shale and other rival supplies.

In the report, OPEC said non-OPEC supply will grow by 2.17 million bpd in 2020, unchanged from the previous forecast but 270,000 less than initially thought in July as shale has not grown as quickly as first thought.

“In 2020, non-OPEC supply is expected to see a continued slowdown in growth on the back of decreased investment and lower drilling activities in US tight oil,” OPEC said, using another term for shale.