Interview: Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi
How is the local steel market expanding its products and applications for various industries?
SAEED GHUMRAN AL REMEITHI: Steel is an essential component in the development of all modern countries. It is used to build infrastructure, industrial facilities and real estate developments. Demand is largely driven by the construction sector, fixed-asset investments, manufacturing, and equipment and machinery production.
The steel industry plays a crucial role in the UAE’s industrial development plans. Large-scale industries were established to play a pivotal role in facilitating the developments of smaller downstream segments. Our medium- and long-term strategy is to support this national industrialisation initiative, and create opportunities for downstream manufacturing industries.
Within the local market we see a diversified product range, including rebar in straight and coil forms, wire rod, sections, sheet piles, and semi-finished products such as billets and direct reduced iron. Qualities suitable for the construction of all aspects of oil platforms, electrical transmission and petrochemicals industries have remained a focus. There will be further investment in value-added steel grades, including sheet piles, as well as value-added wire rod products for different applications like PC strands, cable armouring, welding wire, electrodes and cold heading applications. Emirates Steel has also partnered with the UAE’s first nuclear energy programme for power generation, supplying high-value steel products for the nation’s nuclear projects.
What progress has there been in terms of penetrating international markets?
AL REMEITHI: The expansion of Emirates Steel’s global presence remains a central part of our strategy. After establishing our markets in Asia and Africa in 2008-12, we dispatched our first shipment of structural steel to the US and Mexican ports of Houston and Altamira in May 2013, in a notable expansion from our initial markets. Our product quality has enabled us to enter many new markets, including Europe, the Far East, North and South America, and other Middle Eastern countries. We aim to be present in all key industrialised markets across the globe.
How are local companies promoting sustainability and the reuse of materials?
AL REMEITHI: The UAE is leading the way in the region in developing a blueprint for how to incubate and establish a low-carbon, new-energy industry. Included in these priorities are the company’s ongoing efforts to utilise the CO generated during the iron reduction process, and to promote environment and resource conservation. An integral part was the formation of Al Reyadah, a joint venture between Masdar and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, a CO capture, usage and storage (CCUS) initiative in the region which is the Middle East’s first joint venture to develop commercial-scale CCUS projects. It is the first outside of North America, and there are currently 12 operating CCS or CCUS plants globally.
The project will enhance oil and gas production, and preserve the UAE’s natural gas for domestic electricity generation and other uses. This pioneering initiative will not only allow industrial capture of CO from Emirates Steel’s facilities, but will also allow for it to be utilised for enhanced oil recovery. The project will also liberate natural methane gas, traditionally used to pressurise oil wells, to use it for other traditional power generation and water desalination.
The core aim of the CCUS project is to capture up to 730,000 tonnes of CO annually from the direct reduction plants – 55% of the overall CO generated by the company – and utilise it to feed the project when it goes operational. This is a huge and significant contribution to Emirates Steel’s carbon footprint and the environment, keeping the UAE in line with its commitment to the Kyoto and Paris Protocols.
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