Qatar to invest $25bn in petrochemical production over next decade

Qatar will invest $25bn to expand and develop its domestic petrochemical industry over the next decade, according to an official.

Mohammed Al-Sada, Qatar Energy Minister, said the expansion is expected to improve the country's petrochemical production capacity to 23 million tonnes by 2020 from the current 9.2 million tonnes.

Abdulrahman Al-Shaibi, managing director of the Qatar Financial Centre Authority, said: "We will spend $25bn on creating additional petrochemical industries as an important feedstock for small and medium-sized companies."

Qatar signed and agreed a deal with Royal Dutch Shell in December to develop a $6.4bn petrochemicals complex in the Ras Laffan industrial city.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes of mono-ethylene glycol and 300,000 tonnes of linear alpha olefin annually, according to Qatar News Agency.

Qatar, which has become the world's biggest LNG exporter over the last decade, had imposed a moratorium on further export development of its huge North Field, the source of country's massive gas reserves, until 2014.

The LNG process involves cooling the gas to a liquid to transport over long distances by tankers.

Once received, it is re-gasified and injected into existing transit pipeline systems for delivery to consumers.

Qatar forecasts its LNG output at 77 million tonnes annually until 2015.