Sohar Aluminium, the host and organizers of the 2017 Arab International Aluminium Conference (ARABAL), has unveiled a formidable line-up of industry leaders from around the globe for the international event. Set to be held at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Muscat, from 6 – 9 November 2017, ARABAL 2017 will feature a total of 12 sessions, each dedicated to a subject of vital significance to the global industry. A detailed programme agenda set out for the three-day event will include panel discussions, case studies and research papers presented by 66 speakers comprising leading executives and experts to offer insights into the sustainable growth of the region’s aluminium industry. 

Engineer Said Al Masoudi, CEO of Sohar Aluminium, commented, “The conference’s list of speakers was carefully crafted by our team to deliver a wide range of topics in the aluminium industry that stretches across multiple sectors. Their success in creating an agenda with such a rich variety of key discussion points has attracted a number of leading figures and experts travelling from around the world to join us in Muscat. ARABAL 2017 will contribute towards the vision of utilizing a meeting of the minds to facilitate knowledge-sharing and set the foundation for a new business ecosystem that drives value creation.”

More than 500 delegates from around the world have registered to participate in ARABAL 2017 – a testament to its reputation as a showcase of the region’s rapidly evolving aluminium smelting prowess. The event’s reception further highlights Sohar Aluminium’s emergence as a leader in industry-related expertise. 

The most anticipated panel on the first day of the conference is Session 1 which will bring together the most senior executives of the primary aluminium smelters in the MENA region for a panel discussion focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. The distinguished panellists will also share their thoughts on the potential implications for existing smelters around the world once regional players ramp up capacity.

Weighing in on a theme of a wide significance will be industry leaders from Norway, Australia, China, USA, Russia, Iran and India who will come together for the first time ever during an ARABAL event. Experts from some of the largest smelters in each respective country will discuss the future demand for aluminium produced in emerging markets.

ARABAL is set to break new ground with a wealth of topics set to be discussed for the first time in the conference’s history. Making their debut on the programme schedule are novel themes such as the potential use of renewable energy sources, warehousing, and innovative aluminium among many others. In one such ARABAL first, representatives from some of the world’s pre-eminent institutions and related stakeholders will participate in a panel discussion on the global economic outlook for metal commodities.  The panel will comprise representatives from the London Metal Exchange (LME), Thomson Reuters, and Bank of China International and Harbour Aluminium.

Delegates can also look forward to an insightful series of sessions spotlighting developments and trends centring on ‘warehousing’, a practice that advocates for the storage of metals when LME prices are low, and for their sale when prices rise.  Experts will discuss the challenges posed by warehousing, inflation concerns, and market upheavals among others.

The presence of high profile figures representing leading aluminium smelting technology providers from around the world promises to add to the event’s wealth of innovative knowledge. Reputed technologists from China will be in attendance for the first time in ARABAL, underlining the broad international appeal of the forum. A number of leading automation firms will also showcase their most innovative findings and future developments for the ongoing challenges of finding a balance between automation and human personnel in smelter operations – a topic that has been generating a lot of attention in the industry.

Reflecting concerns over the future of the industry in the face of dwindling and the increase of the cost of energy, a number of international speakers will offer their perspectives on the potential use of renewable resources to power smelters. Global leaders in alternative energy solutions – spanning solar, hydro and wind energy will also be on hand to shed light on potentially path-breaking options the industry can take. Additionally, an expert from Chatham House’s Royal Institute of International Affairs will discuss the ongoing prospects for natural gas production in the region and its potential impact on the aluminium industry. 

The conference will also call attention to the growing challenges of sourcing raw material for smelters. With new environmental regulations effectively placing Chinese resources off-limits to international players, the focus will shift to new emerging markets. This development, compounded with the MENA region’s future strategy to invest in its own upstream facilities, has suppliers increasingly concerned about shifting market trends. Joining the longlist of related topics will be the implications of current aluminium trade trends and a case study presenting the Sultanate’s successful waste management strategy. 

Among the many takeaways from the conference will be insights gained from experts on downstream opportunities, particularly with regard to the potential for a higher uptake of aluminium by the automotive and aerospace sectors.  Oman’s own achievements in downstream value-addition will be in focus, while STRATA, a leading producer of aero-structures for Airbus and plans to outline its vision for the utilization of aluminium in its activities.

“Indeed, Oman has a lot to gain from this event”, said Al Masoudi. “ARABAL’s expert-rich environment will drive and further shape the development of Omani talent in this industry, which is key to the Sultanate’s economic diversification efforts. In addition to the local effect, the event will boost our efforts in Sohar Aluminium and Oman of exporting not only aluminium but expertise to other markets.”   

Combining a strategic conference with an international exhibition, ARABAL represents a unique platform to showcase the Middle East’s growing role as an industrial powerhouse. For more information about ARABAL 2017 and to see the full list of speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, visit