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“We are on track according to the project plan,” says Truls Gautesen, CEO of Qatalum.

Erik Smith, Hydro’s project leader for the Qatalum project agrees:

"Preparing the construction site has been a large operation which is now being completed. We are in the middle of a transition to a phase where the contractors really start mobilizing both equipment and crews to the site.”

Challenging labor market in Qatar

Qatalum has chosen Hydro’s project organization, Projects, as EPC manager (engineering, procurement and construction). Eleven EPC contractors have been chosen to build the various parts of the factory, and these contractors will outsource parts of their projects to smaller sub contractors.

At peak activity there will be about 10,000 workers building Qatalum.  

Qatar is experiencing great economic growth. Building activity in the country is very high, and competition for labor is getting tougher.

“Health and safety is a challenge in every project, but it is perhaps even more challenging in Qatar because the labor market is very tight. We must assume that some personnel working on site will have very little experience, and that makes training for safety even more challenging,” says Smith.

All the workers at the construction site have to attend a safety course put together by Qatalum and Projects. In addition, the contractors are required to carry out specific safety courses for their employees, depending on what kind of jobs they will be performing. Projects is now increasing its HSE staff at the construction site from 22 to 35 dedicated employees.

Building in parallel

Gautesen says Qatalum is spending a lot of resources in establishing the organization that will run Qatalum on a daily basis when the production starts in late 2009.

“Since Qatalum was established last summer, we have focused a lot on creating the organization that will operate the plant at the same time as we are building it. This is very comprehensive work. Even though we are recruiting many experienced workers from Hydro, most of the workers will lack experience from such operations,” says Gautesen.

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