Qatar Greenlights new Ras Laffan Project

11.01.2023 - QatarEnergy said it has made a final decision to go ahead with delayed $6 billion Ras Laffan Petrochemicals Complex to be realized with US multinational partner Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem).

The project, expected to be the largest of its kind in the Middle East, was announced in 2019 but put on ice due to the pandemic. Now scheduled to start up in 2026, the scope includes a 2.1 million t/y ethane cracker upstream of two high-density polyethylene plants with total capacity of just under 1.7 million t/y.

This will be QatarEnergy's largest investment ever in the country’s fast-growing petrochemicals sector and its first direct investment in 12 years, said Saad al-Kaabi, CEO of the state-owned energy giant. The emirate will control 70%, CPChem the remaining 30% of the JV that shares a name with the project.

With the start-up, the Qatari energy giant, one of the world's leading producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG), will double its ethylene output and increase its local polymer production from 2.6 million t/y to 4 million t/y.

Engineering contracts awarded for cracker and PE

With CPChem providing project management services, engineering, procurement and construction for the cracker will be handled by a joint venture of South Korea’s Samsung Engineering and Taiwan’s CTCI Corporation — financial terms have not been announced.

As announced in December, MaireTecnimont has been awarded a lump sum contract for the PE plants, which will use CPChem’s MarTech loop slurry process as well as associated utilities and offsite facilities.  Most of the polymer produced there will be exported.

US-based specialty engineering contractor Emerson has been awarded the main automation contract for the integrated project that will lift Qatar’s overall petchemicals output to nearly 14 million t/y and double its ethylene capacity.

The emirate, one of the heavyweights in the global LNG market, is currently expanding output from its North Field gas reserves, in cooperation with world leading multinational energy players, including TotaEnergies, Eni, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. Liquefaction capacity is due to rise from 77 million t/y to 126 million t/y by 2027.

In November 2022, Qatar and CP Chem announced that their delayed $8.5 billion joint ethylene/PE complex at Orange, Texas in the US had been greenlighted. This project is envisioned to comprise an ethane cracker with capacity of just over 2 million t/y plus two HDPE units of 1 million t/y each, producing CPChem’s Marlex brand.

The two companies are also partners in several other Qatari petrochemical projects, in which Qatar Energy owns the majority stake.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist