State-owned Qatar Petroleum announced plans Tuesday for a new petrochemicals complex at Ras Laffan, and invited international companies to submit proposals for a joint venture.
The planned complex, slated for completion in 2025, will include an ethane cracker with the capacity to produce 1.6 million mt/year of ethylene, making it the largest cracker in the Middle East, QP said in a statement.
The complex is the latest in a raft of new projects planned by state-owned oil and gas companies in the Middle East as they seek to broaden the scope of their business. On Sunday, Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. set out $45 billion worth of investment and partnership opportunities to grow its refining and petrochemicals business at Ruwais.
Saudi Arabia in April signed an agreement with France's Total to build a $5 billion giant petrochemicals complex at Jubail on the Persian Gulf coast. It will include a mixed-feed cracker, processing 50% ethane and refinery off-gas, to produce as much as 1.5 million mt/year of ethylene.
Qatar was one of the first countries in the region to establish a petrochemical base in the late 1960s and early 1970s , taking advantage of its growing gas production. Since then, Doha has set up eight more petrochemical ventures, nearly all with foreign partners, and significantly expanded its product slate.
"This project will complement our efforts to implement our strategy, and will enable Qatar Petroleum to further expand its footprint in the global petrochemicals market," QP CEO Saad al-Kaabi said.
The engineering design of the new Ras Laffan complex should commence shortly, and it was scheduled to start up in 2025, QP said.
Ethane feedstock for the cracker will come primarily from Qatar's new expansion projects at the giant offshore North Field gas field in the Persian Gulf as well as from existing gas projects.
QP awarded two design contracts earlier this year for new offshore facilities and onshore LNG production trains as Doha pushes ahead with plans to expand gas production by 30% and its LNG capacity to more than 100 million mt/year by 2023. Qatar is currently the world's largest LNG producer with a capacity of 77 million mt/year.