InterviewQatar Petrochemical to expand cracker, LLDPE unit by '14

10 January 2011 13:10  [Source: ICIS news]

DUBAI (ICIS)--Qatar Petrochemical Co (QAPCO) plans to expand its 720,000 tonne/year cracker and its 450,000 tonne/year linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) joint-venture plant at Mesaieed, Qatar, by the first quarter of 2014, a company official said on Monday.

“The cracker’s capacity will be raised to 900,000 tonnes/year and the LLDPE plant will be expanded to 600,000 tonnes/year,” QAPCO’s board director and general manager, Mohammed Yousef al-Mulla, said.

The expansions will take place through debottlenecking, said Al-Mulla, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Arabplast exhibition and conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The LLDPE plant is operated by Qatofin, a joint venture between Belgium-based Total Petrochemicals (36%), QAPCO (63%) and Qatar Petroleum (1%).

The LLDPE plant was started up in late 2009, but it only reached full operating rates last year due to a shortage of on-site ethylene feedstock, which in turn was caused by the delayed start-up of the 1.3m tonne/year cracker at Ras Laffan, which is operated by Ras Laffan Olefins, said Al-Mulla.

Feasibility studies on the proposed expansion of QAPCO’s cracker and Qatofin’s LLDPE plant at Mesaieed are expected to be completed by early April, which would be followed by basic engineering work, he said.

The feasibility studies also include the proposed expansion of Ras Laffan Olefins’ 1.3m tonne/year cracker at Ras Laffan to 1.45m-1.6m tonnes/year through debottlenecking, he said.

Ras Laffan Olefins is a joint venture between Qatofin and Q-Chem II, which is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and US-based Chevron Phillips Chemical.

QAPCO was also expected to start commercial production at its new 300,000 tonne/year low density PE (LDPE) plant at Mesaieed by early 2012, raising the company’s total LDPE capacity to 700,000 tonnes/year, Al-Mulla added.

The four-day Arabplast exhibition and conference runs from 8-11 January.

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By: Chow Bee Lin
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