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Kuwait: Steel Industry Overview

In 1994, an industrial area was established at Sabhan that covers 2.7 million square meters and is near the airport. This has become one of the most popular industrial development zones. In 1995, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry opened two new industrial zones to stimulate new business. One is in Sulaiba and covers 80,000 square meters, while the other is in Jahra and covers 195,000 square meters and houses more than 300 small workshops. In this area is the Kirby Building Systems plant, a 61,000 metric ton/year steel plant.

Between 1995 and 1996, Kuwait's non-oil sector grew by an estimated 7%, as Kuwait continues to struggle to reach its pre-invasion levels. Presently, the non-oil sector of the economy accounts for less than half the gross domestic product (GDP) and less than 10% of export revenues. However, long-term growth of the economy is expected with the increased privatization of fields such as power generation, health care, and telecommunications combined with the continued growth in food processing and production industries.

Kuwait has favored joint industrial projects and as result by the end of 1987, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) became a majority shareholder in Bahrain's Iron and Steel Company. In early 1989, Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) and Union Carbide announced their plans for a joint venture to produce polypropylene. Opening in 1997, full production was reached in mid-1998 make Equate the largest and most modern petrochemical complex in the Middle East. The $2 billion industrial complex at Shuaiba.

In July 1996, the Kuwait Industries Company established a 900,000 metric tons/year alumina factory to supply producers in UAE and Bahrain. Kuwait's National Industries Company (NIC) and Qatar Steel Company (QASCO) will construct and manage an $80 million steel plant that will produce 300,000 metric tons/year of reinforced steel bars in Kuwait. QASCO will own 40% of the venture, Qatar Supplies Company 9%, NIC 40%, and the remaining 11% of the venture will be owned by Kuwait Gulf Investment Corporation.

A joint Iran-Kuwait steel factory has been commissioned on 5 May 2002. The factory, called United Steel, has been constructed at a cost of $65 million, which includes a 51% investment by Kuwait’s private sector and 49% by the National Iranian Steel Company. The factory, which has a nominal annual capacity of 330,000 tons of iron rods, has been built in two years by Iranian experts. The factory’s production capacity may be increased to 550,000 tons and it will produce 200,000 tons of iron rods in its first year of operation. Based on a 7-year agreement signed between the two countries, 26,000 tons of the factory’s raw materials will be supplied monthly by Khuzestan Steel Complex.

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