QATAR: Petrochemical production hit 16.8 million tonnes in 2012

The Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association's (GPCA) annual report highlighted several strategic plans for development and expansion in Qatar, including the establishment of a regulatory body for the industry.

One of the key projects which came on-stream last year was Qatar Petrochemical Company's (Qapco) inauguration of a new low-density polyethylene LDPE-3 plant, increasing their polyolefin production capacity to 1.15 million tonnes per annum. This plant now has the highest polyolefin production capacity in a single location anywhere in the world.

Qapco also plans to expand the production capacity of its ethylene plant. On completion, this plant will enable Qapco to produce up to 1 million tonne of ethylene per year.

The Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company, also known as Muntajat, was established by Emiri (ruler's) decree at the end of last year. Muntajat holds the exclusive rights to purchase, market, distribute and sell the country's chemical and petrochemical products worldwide. "As a host of major projects come online, along with a collection of significant new agreements, Qatar is a prime example of how the GCC petrochemicals industry is making positive strides towards becoming a worldwide market leader,” said Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA.

Production in the GCC petrochemicals industry increased by 5.5 percent, making 2012 a buoyant year for this sector despite a slowdown in global markets due to the recession in Europe, inventory discrepancies and a deterioration in manufacturing.

The GCC's petrochemicals production capacity rose to 127.8 million tonnes in 2012, up from 121.1 million tonnes in 2011. In 2012, global petrochemical production grew 2.6 percent, lower than the 3.8 percent growth rate in 2011.

"We are optimistic about the future,” said Dr Sadoun. "Industry growth will transform the petrochemicals sector, into one that is focused on technology, sustainability and enduring partnerships.”

In 2012, Qatar also made strategic expansions worldwide, by making investments in Southeast Asia. Qatar Petroleum International signed an agreement with Vietnam Oil and Gas Group to purchase a 25 percent share in Long Son petrochemicals complex in Vietnam.

Projects in the pipeline include the development of a large petrochemicals complex in Ras Laffan by Qatar Petroleum and Qapco. An olefins project, valued at $6.4 billion is also in development by Qapco and Shell.

Source: Daily "The Peninsula", Doha; 27 June 2013

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)