A continuing construction boom in Qatar may see the demand for cement go up steeply over the next two years. According to a study conducted on the region’s cement industry by Kuwait-based Global Investment House (GIH), the consumption of cement in Qatar was estimated at 1.5Mt in 2003. Demand is projected to shoot up to almost 2.53Mt in 2006 when the construction activity is expected to reach its peak with the Asian Games slated to be held by the end of that year. The annual growth rate for demand for cement in Qatar was put by GIH at 19 per cent. But the highest growth percentage has been projected for Bahrain, at 29 per cent.
Clinker production in the GCC region as a whole was estimated at 35.1Mt last year, up 19.7 per cent over 2002. Nominal clinker production capacity of the region was 32Mt last year, so the capacity utilisation was 109.6 per cent, said GIH in its study. Cement production in the GCC was estimated at 40.3Mt by the end of last year, up 11.3 per cent over 2002. Estimated cement capacity utilisation was marginally more than 100 per cent. The clinker shortage in the region was put by GIH at 6.9 million tonnes last year. The figure for this year when demand is believed to have risen sharply due to hectic construction activity going on in the region, was not projected by GIH.
Cement consumption in the region is projected to cross 50Mt mark by 2006. As expected, consumption is the highest in Saudi Arabia, the largest of the six GCC states. It was 20.7Mt in 2003. In UAE, the consumption was second largest at 10.7Mt. Demand is projected to grow to 27.6Mt in Saudi Arabia by 2006, while in UAE, the figure is expected to go up to 13.5Mt. Kuwait ranks third with 2003 consumption figure being 3.25Mt. Demand is likely to rise only marginally, to 3.87Mt by 2006. Consumption of cement in Oman in 2003 was put by GIH at 1.53Mt, a figure expected to increase barely to 1.68Mt in 2006.