Alba - GTC 3&4, a successful project

Fives upgraded the two Gas Treatment Centers at the Alba Line 5 in Bahrain

This project was established as a major challenge for Fives' teams, from the engineering studies in France to the turnkey implementation of the solutions on site.

As part of its Line 5 pot amperage increase, Alba has awarded Fives with a contract to modify the two Gas Treatment Centers supplied in 2005, in order to comply with gas and alumina flow rate increase. The contract consisted of the supply and installation of one additional exhaust fan including existing duct modification, new airlifts installation and the replacement of the existing fan impellers.

This project has been executed in collaboration with Fives Middle East in Dubai and Fives Services Gulf based in Bahrain, that provided assistance for the local sub-contracting and site construction.

Among the major challenges faced, was the simultaneous deployment of over 100 Fives' sub-contracted personnel at the GTC yard area which is actually considered part of Alba potline 5. Alba expects zero tolerance in non-compliance on its safety standards; hence arranged intensive training on safety induction, on awareness of potroom hazards (DC hazards), on working in confined spaces as well as working at height for all Fives' personnel. Alba's strict requirements on 100% compliance to usage of personnel protective equipment like HF masks, fire retardant clothing were fully met during the project execution.

On the way ahead, another big challenge was executing the project when pots were in operation. Installing new equipment for the upgrade called for shutting down the whole GTC. Alba's team and Fives' site management team had to therefore call for well-planned and coordinated GTC shutdowns so as to achieve maximum installation work within short periods.

Moreover, as the existing plant was ten years old, replacing a piece of equipment by another one was not as simple as it seems. Especially because the main pieces of ducts were 10 m long and had to be handled at a height of 20 m, between two potlines where space was congested and limited. Safety analysis work coordination and timing had to be taken into consideration from the early stage of the project.

In accordance with Alba's requirements, the production has never been impacted by the various interventions carried out on the GTCs.

This great achievement is the result of the combination of various factors including a good HSE preparation, an excellent engineering job during equipment design, the complete mastery of fabrication and a perfect site organization that has led to the success of this complex and challenging retrofit project.