Qatar’s 1.3m tonne/year cracker to start up Q1 2010

23 November 2009 12:34  [Source: ICIS news]

RAS LAFFAN, Qatar (ICIS news)--Qatar's delayed 1.3m tonne/year cracker is scheduled for start-up in the first quarter of 2010, its project manager said on Monday.

Testing was under way and the first ethylene production would take place at the ethane-fed plant at the beginning of 2010, project manager for the Ras Laffan Olefins Company, Jean-Pierre Bourliot, told a press briefing at the site.

"We expect full production to be reached by the third quarter of 2010," he added. The plant is located at the Ras Laffan Industrial Park, 80km north of Doha.

Ethylene from the $1bn plant will be piped south across Qatar to Mesaieed, where it will feed Qatofin's new 450,000 tonne/year linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant.

LLDPE from Qatofin's plant is likely to hit markets in Asia and Europe because domestic markets are relatively undeveloped in the Middle East.

Completion of the Ras Laffan project has been beset by delays. Bourliot said: "We had the same difficulties as other projects. Resources were scarce and the efficiency of staff was not as good as expected.”

Ras Laffan is being constructed using technology from France's Technip. It is 53% owned by Q-CHEM, a joint venture between US group Chevron Phillips Chemical and state-owned Qatar Petroleum. Qatofin, a joint venture between France's Total and Qatar Petrochemical Company, owns 46%. Qatar Petroleum owns a 1% stake directly.

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By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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