Qapco studies expansion and Echem looks to Sabic

By Malini Hariharan

Investment activity is picking up in Qatar. After Total, Shell and ExxonMobil confirmed their interest in new projects, Qatar Petrochemical Co (QAPCO) is talking on expanding its cracker.

The company is working on expanding its 720,000 tonne/year cracker to 900,000 tonnes/year by the first quarter of 2014, said QAPCO’s board director and general manager, Mohammed Yousef al-Mulla in an interview with ICIS news recently. But it is not clear where the feedstock will come from.

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As reported by the blog earlier, a feasibility study is also underway for an expansion of Ras Laffan Olefins’ 1.3m tonne/year cracker to 1.45m-1.6m tonnes/year.

Mulla also disclosed that capacity of Qatofin’s 450,000 tonne/year linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant would be raised to 600,000 tonnes/year.

QAPCO is also on track 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.

Meanwhile Egypt is turning to Sabic to kickstart its ambitious petrochemical programme. An Echem source told ICIS news that the that the two companies are studying a joint venture for an ethane cracker and a 400,000 tonne/year polyethylene (PE) plant in Alexandria, Egypt.

Echem hopes to start the new plants after three years – a very optimistic target as the joint venture has yet to be formed.

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