ExxonMobil still awaiting decision to proceed with Qatar project

23 December 2010 14:32  [Source: ICIS news]

ExxonMobil awaits Qatar project decisionLONDON (ICIS)--ExxonMobil is still awaiting a decision to proceed with its plans to jointly build a world-scale petrochemical complex with Qatar Petroleum at Ras Laffan, following Shell’s announcement of a similar project in the country, a spokesman for the US-based oil and petrochemicals major said on Thursday.

“We signed a heads of agreement with Qatar Petroleum in January 2010 to progress the joint development of a world-scale petrochemical complex in Ras Laffan,” said Nikolaas Baeckelmans.

“Since then, we have progressed work jointly with Qatar Petroleum and are awaiting a decision to proceed,” he added.

Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell said on Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Qatar Petroleum for the joint development of a world-scale mixed feed cracker and petrochemicals complex at Ras Laffan in Qatar.

The project would include a monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant with a capacity of up to 1.5m tonnes/year that would use Shell’s proprietary OMEGA technology.

Also under consideration were other olefin derivative plants that would yield more than 2m tonnes/year of finished products.

The feasibility study for the Shell/QP cracker and downstream units would now begin in earnest, a Shell spokeswoman said.

Shell, Total Petrochemicals and ExxonMobil have all said they are in discussion with Qatar Petroleum about major petrochemicals projects and for feedstock allocation.

Graeme Burnett, Total Petrochemicals’ senior vice president for Asia and the Middle East, told ICIS last month that the company was in early discussions about a cracker project in the Gulf state.

This was confirmed by Qatari energy minister Abdullah al-Attiyah at the end of November, when he said Qatar was in talks with both Shell and Total.

Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil in January signed an agreement to begin the development of a world-scale petrochemical complex at Ras Laffan.

The company said the proposed petrochemical complex would include a 1.6m tonne/year steam cracker, two 650,000 tonne/year gas phase polyethylene plants, and a 700,000 tonne/year ethylene glycol plant.

The project would use feedstock from gas development projects in Qatar's North Field.

Nobody from Total Petrochemicals was available for comment on whether the announcement by Shell had affected its plans in Qatar.

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214

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