SALT OF THE EARTH

Oman 2019 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

The growing demand for industrial salts across various industries will drive growth for Al-Ghalbi International.

Ali Suleym Al Junaibi
BIOGRAPHY
Ali Suleym Al Junaibi, Chairman & CEO of Al-Ghalbi International, studied law at the University of Beirut. His previous positions include Director of Health Services for the Governorate of Al-Wusta, Assistant to the Governor of Niswa, and Deputy for the Governor of Bidbid.

What are the current market demand figures for industrial salt, and what are the primary uses of it?

The global industrial salts market is expected to reach USD15.9 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. The rising demand for industrial salts with increasing penetration in wide range of application industries including chemical processing, water treatment, and agriculture is expected to drive market growth over the forecast period. Chlor-alkali sector in the chemical industry is a major consumer of salt for manufacturing of caustic soda and chlorine. Global industrial salt consumption is forecast to grow 1.9% annually through 2020 to 335 million metric tons, valued at USD14.1 billion. Steady gains in the Asia Pacific and Africa and Middle East regions, as well as in North America, will support market increases. The average price for salt across the world is forecast to rise 2% per year to USD42 per metric ton in 2020, rebounding from a low 2015 base. Through 2020, however, a more stable commodities market and increases in global demand in volume terms will boost gains. Byproducts of industrial salts are major industrial products such as caustic soda and chlorine; salt is used in many industrial processes including manufacturing polyvinyl chloride, plastics, paper pulp, and many other products. In the oil and gas industry, salt is used to increase the density of mud and soil, which creates a more safe and efficient drilling rig. Although salt may not be used extensively in offshore drilling, enormous amounts of salt are required to facilitate drilling on land. Pharmaceutical companies also use salt in the process of making capsules, as well as the production of saline solutions, which have widespread secondary uses. Saline solutions are not only useful for contact solution, but also for intravenous formulas. Salt use by the medical and pharmaceutical companies accounts for a large percentage of the total national industrial salt usage. The majority of the world's industrial salt is also used to de-ice roads and to create a safer driving surface, not only for the public, but for government use as well. 60-80% of globally mined salt is used to improve the safety of public transit in one capacity or another, though usually to reduce the freezing point of snow and ice. Salt is often spread on roads prior to inclement weather, allowing a surface layer of brine to provide further protection against ice.

Outside of Duqm, which areas of your business have the most revenue growth?

The oil and gas industry brought Al-Ghalbi International to its remarkable position in the last 19 years, and the oil and gas sector has played a key part in our revenues. The hard work of our professionally and technically empowered staff from the beginning of our organization has helped lift the organization further on its growth path and has placed the company in the good books of various clients in the industry.

In the near future, what oilfield activities will be in most demand, and how does Al-Ghalbi intend to capture that business?

Al-Ghalbi has made a strong stand among all major clients and operators in the oil and gas sector in Oman. We started with the maintenance sector and spread our wings into installation, construction, and quickly specialized pipeline engineering services. The core part, maintenance, will continue to be in demand even during slowdowns of further subsidiary sectors of oil and gas.

What are your primary objectives over the next 12 months?

Al-Ghalbi International seeks to diversify its business plans, enter into various sectors including ICT, advertising, media, publishing, facilities management, tourism, catering, and hospitality services, and create milestones in each sector.