Aluminium, he said, has experienced the highest growth but it lags behind on price because demand has fallen below production for quite a while.

He talked about a ‘considerable’ global inventory of 12Mt owned by investors but said there were good reasons to be optimistic for the future.

Quoting CRU, Brandtzaeg expects a 76% increase in demand for aluminium as the world edges towards 2020. He attributes such phenomenal growth to the properties of aluminium and its widespread usage in automotive, packaging, mobile communications and energy efficient buildings.

Norsk Hydro, he said, was engaged in innovation throughout industry, including renewable energy sources and went on to remind delegates that 75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today and that the process of recycling the light metal consumes only 5% of the energy needed to produce primary metal.

According to Brandtzaeg, Qatalum is ‘our flagship smelter’ and one of the most competitive in the world. In addition to its joint venture in the Gulf, Hydro’s acquisition of Vale Aluminium and its recently announced joint venture with Sapa – to form the world’s largest extrusion company – all point to the company’s optimism for the future of the industry on a global scale.