Qatar Review

Qapco fulfilling Qatar vision

An LDPE plant of the company

QATAR Petrochemical Company (Qapco) is helping feed the world’s hunger for plastic products and playing a role in industrial diversification in its homeland. Recent developments placed the company in prime position to help fulfill the Qatari Government’s vision to raise its petrochemical production in the country by 2020 to 23 million tonnes annually.

Current production of petrochemicals in Qatar is said to be around 16.8 million tonnes per year. 

Over the past several years, Qapco and its subsidiaries including Qatofin, Qatar Vinyl Chloride and Qatar Plastics Products Company have steadily been building the petrochemicals and plastics base in the country.

Qapco commenced production last year of its third low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant and is moving towards building a large petrochemical complex in the Ras Laffan Industrial City with its partner Qatar Petroleum (QP).

Al Sejeel Petrochemical Complex will feature a world-scale mixed-feed steam cracker with plants designed to produce 2.2 million tonnes annually of polymers including PE and PP resins. QP holds 80 per cent of equity and Qapco the remainder in the project which will be completed in 2018. The two companies recently signed technology licensing agreements with Univation Technologies for the polyethylene technology and The Dow Chemical Company for the polypropylene technology. Emerging from lines in the complex will be ethylene, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE), polypropylene, butadiene and py-gasoline.

“We firmly believe that the development of the downstream petrochemical sector will create countless opportunities for the production of new intermediate and derivative products,” said Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry. 

Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, chairman of Qapco, commented: “The Al Sejeel Petrochemical Project represents a pioneering initiative as it is the first time that two Qatari entities will build and develop together a petrochemical complex of this scale. Over the past years, Qatar and the country’s petrochemical sector in particular have built tremendous capabilities, developed a talented national workforce, and acquired strong technical and operational expertise to develop and implement strategic projects such as Al Sejeel.”

Al Mohannadi said Qapco, building on its nearly 40 years of experience, had demonstrated operational excellence and high product quality as well as developing and maintaining a competitive edge in the global petrochemical Industry. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr Mohammed Yousef Al Mulla, vice chairman and CEO of Qapco, added: “The Al Sejeel Petrochemical Project will create over 1,500 career opportunities for Qataris and generate new channels for the expansion of partnerships with local suppliers and contractors while enhancing community development. Through this project and under the leadership of His Excellency Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada, we are proud to contribute to the sustainable development of Qatar’s economy, and we are committed more than ever to deliver as we head up north, from Mesaieed to Ras Laffan.”

Bechtel will provide project management services over the course of the project starting with the front-end engineering design phase to ensure the quality, safe, and timely construction of the project.

“Bechtel’s contribution to the mega-petrochemical complex will be strategic, as Bechtel benefits from extensive experience and is a leader in the construction of petrochemical plants all around the world,” said Dr Al Mulla. Qapco is owned 80 per cent by Industries Qatar (IQ) and 20 per cent by Total of France. Qatar Pertroleum holds a 51 per cent stake in IQ with the remainder equity held by public and non-profit organisations.

Qapco’s third LDPE plant has brought output capacity of the product from 400,000 tonnes per year to 700,000 tonnes. The new plant, which was in operation for some months of 2012 following its start-up, helped bring Qapco’s LDPE output to 526,000 tonnes in 2012 against 430,000 tonnes in the previous year, up 24.6 per cent. 

Qatofin’s linear low density polyethylene production in 2012 was 527,000 tonnes. Total polyolefins production, combining LDPE and LLDPE, was 1.053 tonnes.

Production of ethylene, the main feedstock, was 794,000 tonnes. Qatofin was established in 2005 and is a joint venture between Qapco (63 per cent), Total Petrochemicals (36 per cent) and Qatar Petroleum (1 per cent).

The total sales volume for LDPE in 2012 was 536,000 tonnes against 430,000 tonnes in the previous year. Qapco’s share of LDPE sold in Qatofin was 340,000 tonnes against 305,000 tonnes in 2011.

Total sales of ethylene were 300,000 tonnes vs 365,000 tonnes in 2011. Qapco’s share of ethylene sales in Qatofin was 81,000 tonnes against 69,000 tonnes in 2011.

The sale of Qapco’s share in Qatar Vinyl Company’s s ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride monomer and caustic soda, Q-Chem’s HDPE and other chemical products under marketing arrangements in 2012 reached 564,000 tonnes.