OMAN: Orpic plans to select technology provider for $3.6 billion Sohar plastics project

The project, which is scheduled for completion by 2018, will have six components - a gas extraction plant in Fahud (close to gas production fields), a 300-km long pipeline between Fahud and Sohar Industrial Port for transporting gas, a steam cracker unit, an HDPE plant, an LLDPE plant and a polypropylene plant, according to a senior official of Orpic.

Musab al Mahruqi, Chief Executive Officer of the state-owned Orpic, said that as much as 60 per cent of the feedstock for Sohar plastics project will be from the existing Sohar refinery, while 40 per cent will be natural gas liquids (NGLs) extracted from gas in Fahud.

He was making a presentation on the company's plans at the Polyolefin Plastics Arabia Conference in Muscat on 26 May 2013. The two-day conference, jointly organised by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) and the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), was held under the auspices of Mohammed bin Salim Al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs.

Al Mahrouqi said the project, which will be integrated to the existing Sohar refinery, polypropylene and aromatics units, will produce polyethylene, polypropylene and additional gasoline and benzene.

"For the first time in Oman, the project will improvise the entire component of natural gas, which include ethane and propylene."

Mahrouqi said the implementation of Sohar Plastics project, close to the refinery, will result in one of the most efficient and integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in the world.

Mahrouqi added that the total investment for Sohar Plastics, which is behind schedule by two years, and Sohar refinery expansion is estimated at $5 billion. Of this, $1.5 billion is for Sohar refinery expansion.

He said the Sohar Plastics project, once commissioned, will enhance both fuel and plastics production tremendously. Plastics production will increase to 1.4 million tonnes per annum by 2018 from 200,000 tonnes per annum now, while fuels production will touch 11.3 million tonnes from 7.3 million tonnes during the period under review.

There will also be a growth in Orpic's revenue. The company's revenue from plastics will increase to $1.9 billion from merely $0.3 billion, while fuels revenue will touch $12.5 billion by 2018 from $7 billion now.

Elaborating on the benefits of the project, he said it will improve refinery and petrochemical integration, optimise existing production plants and natural gas components, results in attractive economic returns and potential for downstream plastics.

Source: Daily "Times of Oman", Muscat; 27 May 2013

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)