Qatar petrochemical output to get further boost with new LDPE plant

Qapco's new low-density polyethylene plant (LDPE 3) that will have a capacity of 300,000 tonnes-per-year (tpy) will be officially launched by the Emir (Ruler), Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.

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

Qapco's LDPE production will thus exceed 700,000 tpy with all the three plants in full operation.

Products from LPDE 3 will be sold under the brand name ‘Lotrène' through Qapco's global marketing network, which comprises some 30 own offices and logistic facilities around the world.

Currently, the company has some 4,500 corporate customers in 145 countries worldwide.

According to Qapco, the new facility will produce "prime high pressure grade LDPE”, thus positioning the company as a global leader in LDPE production.

With all these units up and running, Qapco will become one of the major low-density polyethylene producers in the world.

Currently, Qapco's manufacturing facilities consist of an 800,000 tpy ethylene plant, 70,000 tpy sulphur processing facility, in addition to the two existing LDPE plants.

LDPE 3 was conceptualised in 2002, when Qapco identified "huge potential” for the material in view of its global demand.

Construction began in 2009 after the foundation stone for the project was laid by HH the Heir Apparent, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani at Mesaied. "Testing and commissioning have already been completed and the facility has been producing commercial prime grade LDPE since
mid-August, 2012,” a Qapco source said 5 Nov. 2012.

Qapco vice-chairman and CEO Dr Mohamed Yousef al-Mulla said, "No stone was left unturned in our quest to deliver a world-class facility. The engineering, procurement, and construction contract was awarded to the German firm Uhde, which has extensive experience in constructing
facilities for the petrochemical industry. In addition, our technology is licensed by Bassell, another global giant in the sector.”

LDPE 3 construction, Qapco said, presented an opportunity for the company to streamline its operations as a new central control room was constructed to run all three facilities simultaneously.

"The entire migration process took place with very little downtime, and normal operations at the existing facilities were not disrupted at any point,” Qapco said.

LDPE 3 meets the "extremely stringent environmental standards” set by the Ministry of Environment. Cooling water from the plant is carefully treated before recycling even as heat generated at the plant during the production process is used for heating and power.

Source: Daily "Gulf Times", Doha; 6 Nov 2012

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)