Delek Looking at Aluminum Project in Negev

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Israeli energy company Delek has been examining the possibility of opening an aluminum production plant and natural gas power station in the Negev, Globes reported on Sunday.

Delek was said to be finishing a feasibility study for the 4-billion shekel project and held a meeting on its progress on Thursday with Minister of the Economy and Industry Eli Cohen.

The plan so far calls for production of one million tons of aluminum a year at a factory to be built adjacent to a natural gas power station supplied by Delek from the Leviathan natural reservoir, of which the company is part-owner. If it happens, it will be Israel’s largest gas-fired power plant, and will consume 0.7-2 BCM of gas a year.

Since aluminum consumption in Israel averages only 50,000 tons a year, 90 percent of the plant’s output would have to be for export. The regional market is estimated at two million tons of aluminum a year: Turkey 1.1 million tons, Italy 0.9 million tons, and Greece 0.2 million tons.

The economic impact on the domestic economy would be significant: adding 1,500 jobs and an increase in exports of $2 billion a year.

Financing will be via loans from foreign banks, and a strategic partner from China may be recruited for the venture.

The facility, which would take six years to complete including statutory stages, would likely be located in either Ramat Hovav, Mishor Rotem or Eilat. Assuming, that is, it’s built in Israel, to which Delek has not yet committed.