GPCA '11: Shell plans alpha olefin, oxo-alcohol units in Qatar

14 December 2011 06:51 Source:ICIS News

DUBAI (ICIS)--Shell Chemicals is planning to develop alpha olefin and oxo-alcohol capacities downstream of its joint venture petrochemical project with Qatar Petroleum, said Ben van Beurden, Shell Chemicals’ executive vice president.

Van Beurden added that the downstream configuration of the planned complex in Qatar would include the world’s biggest OMEGA technology monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant with a capacity of 1.5m tonnes/year. He was speaking on the sidelines of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) Forum in Dubai.

Earlier this month, Shell and Qatar Petroleum announced that they had signed a heads of agreement for the world-scale petrochemicals complex, which could cost an estimated $6.4bn (€4.9bn).

“The heads of agreement is binding up until the final investment decision, which we expect to take in 2013,” he said, adding that a start-up is expected for 2017.

The alpha olefins capacity would be 250,000-300,000 tonnes/year and for oxo-alcohols, around 300,000 tonnes/year, said van Beurden.

Gas feedstock for the cracker that would feed the downstream plants would come from Qatar’s North Field and from the Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) complex in Qatar, he added. The GTL plant is 100% funded by Shell, with Shell and QP sharing output from the complex.

Ethane gas will be separated from the methane fed into the GTL, with a small amount of by-product ethane and natural gas liquids also produced in the process of converting the methane to liquid fuels such as low-sulphur diesel.

The 6th GPCA Forum is being held in Dubai on 13-15 December, with the theme “Moving Downstream – Creating Value and Sustainable Growth”.

($1 = €0.77)

By John Richardson