UpdateSingapore to serve as QPI's market radar for regional expansion

11 November 2009 06:47  [Source: ICIS news]

(recasts lead, updates all throughout)

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Qatar Petroleum International (QPI) sees Singapore as a good outpost to determine behaviour in its natural market - Asia's Far East, as it evaluates opportunities for further expansion, said the company's top executive on Wednesday.

Singapore's strategic location and its status as a major energy hub were what lured the state-run Middle Eastern energy company to make its first downstream investment abroad here through a partnership with global energy giant Shell, said Nasser Al-Jaidah, CEO at QPI.

QPI and Shell signed a series of agreements on Wednesday to jointly own 50% of Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (PCS) and 30% of The Polyolefin Company (Singapore) Pte Ltd (TPC), to be held through a joint venture company called QPI and Shell Petrochemicals (Singapore) Pte Ltd (QSPS).

"Singapore is a big [energy] hub and it is good place to see how the market is behaving in the Far East, our natural market for petrochemicals," said Al-Jaidah on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.

PCS has two naphtha steam crackers with 1.9m tonnes/year in combined capacity for olefin production, while TPC operates three low density polyolefin plants with total capacity of 260,000 tonne/year, and five polypropylene plants with 600,000 tonne/year in total capacity.

The remaining shareholdings in PCS and TPC are held by consortia led by Japanese producer Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd.

Shell and QPI's partnership dates back to 2007 when the two companies agreed to look at potential international projects throughout the energy value chain.

The two companies are also jointly developing a 140,000 bbls/day Pearl gas-to-liquid (GTL) project in Ras Laffan, Qatar.

Developing a GTL project in Singapore, however, "is difficult" because the city-state lacks gas resource, said Al-Jaidah, but added that QPI's presence here should help the company manage its future expansion plans.

"QPI is evaluating many opportunities in the Asia-Pacific," he said.

"We want to expand our business, we want to be biggest energy supplier especially in the LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)business. This (Singapore petrochemicals) is  one of the first significant investments of QPI," Al Jaidah said.

In China, Qatar Petroleum has a joint venture PetroChina and Shell (China) Ltd to build a refinery and petrochemical complex at Taizhou in Zhejiang province.

"We are working, and we are hoping to get the approval [on the project] by the end next year," said Al Jaidah.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
+65 6780 4359



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