Qatar National Cement Co will almost triple output to 3.5Mta next year to help feed a construction boom, the company’s general manager told Reuters on Sunday. High oil and gas prices have catapulted the tiny Gulf Arab state’s economy into one of the fastest growing in the region and created a booming real estate and construction sector. This has led to a cement shortage which industry sources say has delayed the completion of projects. The company has been importing about 2500tpd mainly from Asian countries to meet demand, they said.
Mohammed Ali al-Sulaiti, general manager of the state-controlled cement firm, said the production increase from the current 1.2Mta will be the result of a $240m expansion. Phase one of the expansion will be completed by the end of 2005, while phase two is slated to end in the second quarter of 2006. "We will be producing about 10,000 tonnes of cement per day by the middle of next year and this will more than satisfy demand," Sulaiti said in an interview. "May was a very busy month for us and we imported about 12 ships worth of cement, but there is less demand right now so there is less pressure," Sulaiti added.
Analysts said the construction sector would help National Cement recover its expansion costs quickly. "They shouldn’t have any problem paying this off. It’s a booming market and demand for cement will only increase," said Roy Thomas, financial analyst with Qatar National Bank.