SABIC, OQ and Kuwait Petroleum Partner on Duqm Project

04.01.2023 - SABIC, OQ and Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI) have agreed to jointly develop a petrochemical complex in Duqm, Oman, reviving a project that stalled in late 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move builds on a Memorandum of Understanding signed between SABIC and OQ in December 2021 that established preliminary and indicative terms to assess the project’s feasibility. SABIC said the partners will conduct the necessary studies and collaborate “using their wealth of technical and commercial experience to develop the project with unique attributes that make it globally competitive and profitable for all three.”

The complex in the Duqm Special Economic Zone in Oman’s southeastern Al Wusta province will comprise a steam cracker and derivative units together with a natural gas liquid (NGL) extraction facility. It will monetize NGLs and other feedstocks from Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries Company’s (DRPIC) 230,000 bbl/day refinery in Duqm, called OQ8, which is currently under construction and due to start up in 2023. OQ and KPI own equal shares in DRPIC.

DRPIC suspended front-end engineering design (FEED) work on the petrochemicals project in November 2020, citing unprecedented global economic uncertainty due to the global pandemic, declining demand and highly volatile commodity prices.

Original plans were for a mixed-feed steam cracker producing 1.6 million t/y ethylene as well as ethylene and propylene derivatives that included PE and PP. DRPIC had previously intended to take a final investment decision in 2021, with the complex commissioned in 2025.

Wood Group was contracted in June 2019 to provide FEED services on the project. Several other contracts were also awarded in 2020, including to OQ Chemicals for licensing proprietary technology for the propanol, butyraldehyde, neopentyl glycol, 2-ethylhexanol (2-EH) and 2-EH acid units, Lummus Technology for the cracker and the NGL extraction, butadiene, MTBE and butene-1 units, and LyondellBasell for the 280,000 t/y PP and 480,000 t/y HDPE plants.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist