QATAR: Qapco, RLOC, Qatofin expansion set to boost the petrochemical industry

Qatar's petrochemical industry will get a boost with expansions at Qapco, Ras Laffan Olefins Company and Qatofin, a report by Business Monitor International said.

Qapco (Qatar Petrochemical Company) is on track to start commercial production at its new 300,000 tonnes per year (tpy), low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant at Mesaieed by early 2012, raising the company's total LDPE capacity to 700,000 tpy.

Qapco's two existing LDPE production lines - LDPE 1 & 2 -already account for more than 400,000 tpy.

With all these units up and running, Qapco will become one of the major LDPE producers in the world.

Qapco is also considering expanding its 720,000 tpy ethylene cracker to 900,000 tpy in Q4, 2014, the BMI report said.

A feasibility study is also under way for the expansion of the Ras Laffan Olefins Company (RLOC) cracker from 1.3mn tpy to 1.45mn to 1.6mn tpy, while Qatofin's 450,000 tpy linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant may see capacity boost, the report said.

The RLOC cracker was opened in May 2010 and is the world's largest ethylene producer. It supplies both the Q-Chem II petrochemical complex and Qatofin's 450,000tpy LLDPE plant, which were opened in November 2009.
The cracker will also supply ethylene to HDPE and alpha-olefin plants that are being built by Q-Chem II.

Qatofin is a joint venture involving Qapco (63%), Total Petrochemicals of France (36%) and Qatar Petroleum (1%).

RLOC has been set up by Q-Chem II--a QP-ChevronPhillips Chemical Company joint venture--and Qatofin.

According to BMI, two new world-scale petrochemical projects are set to go ahead in Qatar, each with ethylene production capacity of at least 1.5mn tpy.

BMI had based previous projections on just one of the world-scale complexes, owing to lack of ethane feedstock supply. However, only one is likely to come onstream in 2015, with the other likely in 2016.

"Qatar's petrochemical-specific ratings are strong, with cracker capacity set to increase significantly over the next five years and the country hosting the second largest polyolefin production capacity in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) after Saudi Arabia,” BMI said.Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan