Gulf Region

Over the past 40 years the Gulf region has faced massive growth in aluminium production from 120,000 tons in 1971 to 5.1 million tons in 2015. It is projected that by 2020 more than 9% of the worldwide primary aluminium production will be generated from this region, home to some of the world’s largest aluminium smelters. The aluminium sector is the second largest industry in the Gulf region, providing a significant contribution to the GDP.

World’s 3rd largest producer

Aluminium production growth in the Gulf region is driven by the need to diversify the oil rent and the readily available natural gas, and the modern environmentally-friendly reduction cell technologies. With substantial growth in construction and infrastructure, manufacturing and utilities, the demand for aluminium is rapidly rising in this region with a growth rate of 8.4% compared to a global average growth rate of 3.7% per annum.

Smelter projects in the Middle East have competitive power tariffs due to the region’s large reserves of natural gas. The prime location allows export commitments to global markets to be easily accessible.

For the Gulf region, aluminium is a way to export large volumes of stranded energy, natural gas, while generating wealth domestically. Their smelters are known to be among the most technically advanced and to have the lowest operation and construction costs.

annual production

5 104 000 mt/y

global production

8.8 %


50 359 763

energy sources for
electrolysis process

Natural gas

number of smelters


carbon footprint

10 mt CO2e/mt Al

Data 2015 / March 2017

Prime location allows exports to global markets

By 2020, more than 9% of the worldwide aluminium will be produced in the Gulf region

At issue

Low oil prices = low oil rent = tight money market

High cost of extraction for natural gas

High youth unemployment and access to skilled labor

Instable geopolitics

High dependence on commodity exports for economic growth

Aluminium in the world