Norwegian aluminum producer Norsk Hydro is caught up in the sudden diplomatic freeze that hit Qatar this week, when its neighbouring United Arab Emirates and Bahrain plus Saudi Arabia and Egypt cut off contact and closed borders. Nearly everything produced at Hydro’s jointly owned aluminum plant in Qatar is exported from Dubai, which is no longer accessible.
Qatar’s isolation has been creating huge problems for its population, not least all the migrant workers living and working in Qatar. Hydro, meanwhile, reported in a press release that it was working to find alternative means of transport for its products so that it can continue to supply customers of its Qatalum plant, which is a joint venture between Hydro and Qatar Petroleum. It produces more than 600,000 tons of aluminum products per year for customers in Asia, Europe and the US.
Norwegian fertilizer company Yara also has a large operation in Qatar but it’s not affected by the blockade, since it has its own harbour.
Qatar claims the sanctions placed on it by the five Arab countries are based on a misunderstanding. Qatar denies allegedly false reports that it supports Iran, Hamas, Hezbolla and Israel, to which the Saudis, Egyptians and UAE officials have reacted.