LONDON United Co. Rusal will upgrade its alumina refineries in Jamaica so that steam production will run on natural gas power instead of fuel oil in a drive to cut costs in an oversupplied market, the Russian company said April 25.
Rusal operates three alumina refineries in Jamaicathe Windalco refineries (Ewarton and Kirkvine) and the Alpart refinery. The three plants will start receiving natural gas supplies in 2016.
"It is expected that the costs associated with this long-term natural gas supply project will be substantially less than ... heavy oil schemes," Rusal said.
The gas will be supplied under a long-term contract with BP Plc and will be delivered to Jamaica by Swiss company Sea One AG, which will liquefy the gas at a facility in Mississippi before shipping it to Jamaica.
"The surplus of alumina in the Atlantic region requires us to focus on the cost control. Shifting steam production to gas will boost performance of our Jamaican refineries as the steam generation forms a great part of our cost of sales," first deputy chief executive officer Vladislav Soloviev said in a statement.
"We expect that this modernization will enable us to restart the idled Alpart and Kirkvine refineries. We plan that alumina produced at these facilities will feed our cutting-edge greenfield smelters in Eastern Siberia, which are to start operations gradually in the next several years," he said.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Metal Bulletin.