Our assignment to build Oman’s Sohar smelter came on the heels of our successful expansion of the Alba aluminum smelter in Bahrain. The experience we gained at Alba and other previous projects was invaluable given the massive size, complexity, and speed this job required.
At the time, Sohar was one of only two smelters in many years to be constructed from the ground up, and the first in the Persian Gulf in a quarter century. It would include the world’s longest and highest-capacity potline, the row of cells that yield aluminum.
The other greenfield smelter being built at the time, Fjarðaál in Iceland, was also a Bechtel project. Both became benchmark examples of how to execute metals megaprojects, and each has played a vital role in meeting the soaring global demand for aluminum.
When the project, located at the northeastern end of the Arabian Peninsula, was built it included the world’s largest and most technologically advanced potline. With 360 pots (the next largest had 336), the potline had annual production capacity of 350,000 metric tons. The project also included construction of a carbon plant, an ingot-casting facility, and a port facility for storage and shipping.