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ARABAL 2017: Shaping Economies and Driving Strategic Growth in the Middle East

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The Middle East has grown substantially in aluminium production in last few years. The contribution of aluminium industry in re-shaping the regional economies, which has been predominantly oil dependent, is undeniable. The aggressive development of state-of-the-art smelters and a successful downstream sector is helping transform the industry’s landscape in one of the most resource-rich parts of the world. Today, the region’s smelters are contributing about 10% of the total global aluminium output excluding China, highlighting its growing status as a global aluminium player. Backed by some of the most advanced smelters and government support, the GCC’s principal producers have become a key contributor to a growing global demand for aluminium that is estimated to reach 70 million metric tonnes per year by 2020.

Some of the prime facts of the Middle East aluminium industry are:

  • There are six smelters in the Middle East and North Africa region, many of which are regarded as being amongst the most advanced in the world.
  • The GCC countries collectively produced 5,229,115 tonnes of primary aluminium in 2016.
  • Egyptalum produced approximately 320,000 tonnes in 2016.
  • The Gulf region is the next emerging aluminium producer and exporter in Asia after China.
  • Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) is the largest aluminium producer in the entire Middle East with an annual production of 2.4 million tonnes.
  • GCC region exports about sixty per cent of the total aluminium production.

For the past 37 years, Middle East aluminium producers have been rotationally hosting the Arab International Aluminium Conference (ARABAL), as recognition of aluminium’s potential to drive economic growth in the region. This year, the Sultanate of Oman is hosting the 21st version of most influential industry conferences from November 6th – 9th, bringing together various domestic and international stakeholders under the same roof to discuss the future of the industry. Held under the theme ‘Driving Strategic Growth across the Global Aluminium Industry’, this year’s event will be hosted by the Sultanate’s main primary aluminium producer, Sohar Aluminium.


ARABAL was launched in 1983 by Mr. Muhammad Al Naki with the aim of establishing greater collaboration between leaders within the Middle East’s aluminium industry. The first ARABAL took place in Kuwait, under the patronage of H.H. the Crown Prince & Prime Minister Sheikh Saad Al Abdullah Al Sabah.  The event grew in size and significance every year since its inception, reflecting the exponential growth of the aluminium industry in the region. Today, ARABAL is comprised of six member companies. They include Ma’aden, EGA, Egyptalum, Aluminium Bahrain (ALBA), Sohar Aluminium, and Qatalum.

The conference has grown into the only event of its kind in the region to unite all the leading primary aluminium manufacturers, offering a platform to the industry leaders to network, conduct business, discuss global challenges and identify suitable solutions.

Sohar Aluminium, the Host 

Sohar Aluminium was launched in Oman in 2004. The company remains the country’s only net exporter of primary aluminium.  Sohar Aluminium has an annual capacity of 370,000 tonnes of high quality aluminium.


Sohar Aluminium has its own dedicated power plant with a total design capacity of 1,000 MW and  operates a dedicated port facility at the Port of Sohar with a capacity of up to 75,000 metric tons for receiving raw materials and for exporting primary aluminium. The majority of its production is exported to Asian markets including Malaysia, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Japan. Sohar Aluminium exported 2,69,722 tons of aluminium in 2016 and the total estimated value of these exports was USD 970 million respectively.

Part of Sohar Aluminium’s overall strategy is to promote and support the creation of a robust downstream aluminium industry in Oman in order to add value to its aluminium, create further employment and business opportunities and contribute to Oman’s economy. Sohar Aluminium supplies to 3 downstream companies that are in operation. These are Oman Aluminium Processing Industries Limited (OAPIL) and Oman Aluminium Rolling Company (OARC), and Oman Aluminium Cast (OAC). Sohar Aluminium will host the event for the second time this year, having done it in 2011.

“We began operations in 2004 with a vision of introducing an entirely new sector to the Omani market. Today, the Sultanate is one of the largest producers of aluminium in the Middle East. In many ways, our success is reminiscent of the industry’s rise throughout the region, where producers have used aluminium as a catalyst for job creation and economic diversification,” said Mohammed Al Masoudi, CEO of Sohar Aluminium.

ARABAL - Image 1

As the Sultanate’s first Greenfield aluminium smelter, Sohar Aluminium Company LLC is a landmark industrial development project for the Sultanate of Oman that creates new, diversified opportunities in tandem with Sultanate’s sustainable development ambitions. Sohar Aluminium leverages upon the internationally renowned expertise and production technologies of Rio Tinto, the world’s leading Aluminium mining and Production Company and a stakeholder of Sohar.  As the only aluminium smelter in the Sultanate of Oman, Sohar Aluminium continues to lead the sector through its commitment to transparent and responsible operations.


ARABAL 2017 will welcome more than 60 renowned experts who will lead and facilitate multiple sessions over the two-day program. The most anticipated session of this year’s edition of the conference is the Industry Keynote Panel- “Global Map Redrawn: As New Supply & Demand Centers Emerge, What Are the Challenges & Opportunities for the Middle East’s Aluminium Sector?”

This session will include some of the most prominent experts and analysts in the global aluminium industry. The panel comprises of Sohar Aluminium’s CEO Said Mohammed Al Masoudi, Abdulaziz A. Al Harbi, President of Ma’aden, Abdulla Jassem Kalban, Managing Director & CEO of EGA, Khalid Mohamed Sultan Laram, CEO of Qatalum, Eng. Abd Elzaher Abd Elsattar Hassan, Chairman & CEO of Egyptalum and Tim Murray, CEO of ALBA. Moderating the panel will be Jorge Vazquez, Founder and Managing Director of Harbor Aluminum.

ARABAL 2017 will act as a platform for discussions to leverage the region’s rapid growth to ensure a sustainable industry well into the future. Delegates will gain insight into the industrial development, technical innovations, opportunities in the region, global economic trends, market price outlook, supply and demand scenario, as well as foreign trade.


  • As said earlier, ARABAL 2017 will be held under the theme ‘Driving Strategic Growth across the Global Aluminium Industry’.
  • The two-day conference would comprise of 12 Sessions and a subsequent exhibition, followed by a question answer session.
  • More than 500 top level executives, major investors, and key decision makers from more than 20 countries are expected to attend the event.
  • Keynote panel will feature the heads of all six ARABAL member companies.
  • The conference will feature 62 expert speakers and research analysts from 23 countries.
  • As panelists and presenters they would cover multiple relevant topics. Some of the major topics from the conference would be:
    1. Future Demand for Aluminium from Emerging Markets’
    2. Global Market Economic Review 
    3. LME Price Outlook: What’s the Road Ahead?
    4. Warehousing – Global Challenges and Solutions 
    5. Prospects for Gas in the Arab Gulf 
    6. The Middle East and the Implications for the Aluminium Industry
    7. What are the Implications of Current Aluminium Trade Trends and Tariffs for Gulf Producers in Their Fight for Global Market Share? 
    8. Technology, Research and Development: Smelter of the Future and Art of Technology
    9. How Should the Right Balance be Struck Between Automation, Employment & Productivity? 
    10. Roadmap to 2025: What are the Next Steps Needed for Renewable Energy to Become Viable in the Aluminium Industry?
    11. Current Raw Material Trends and Their Impact upon the Markets?
    12. Outlook 2020: Future of Aluminium Demand for Finished Products? 
    13. Lean Manufacturing and Sustainable Waste Management: Success Stories 
    14. Effective Solutions to Reducing the Burden of Waste 
  •  The conference and exhibition will open on 7th November and later in the evening, Sohar Aluminium will host a cultural dinner for all delegates and Sponsors.
  • On November 9th, all delegates will be flown by private charter plane to Sohar for a site tour of Sohar Aluminium’s facilities.

The ARABAL conference and exhibition is being held in partnership with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Oman Shipping Company.

Gold sponsors for the event are, Oman Oil Company, General Electric (GE) Power, and the Canadian province of Quebec’s Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation among others.  Silver Sponsors include Rio Tinto, SGL Group, Outotec, and Special Technical Services LLC.

For more details on the full agenda and the key speakers and to register to take your place among the most distinguished aluminium experts in the world today, please visit https://www.arabal.com/.




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