Liwa Plastics Project, Sohar, Oman


Liwa Plastics Project (LLP) is a $3.6bn new steam cracker project being developed in the Sohar Industrial Port Area by Oman Oil Refineries & Petroleum Industries (Orpic). The new facilities will be integrated with the adjacent and existing Sohar refinery, aromatics plant and polypropylene plant owned by Orpic.

"LLP is expected to generate 450 direct jobs and around 1,200 indirect jobs."

The natural gas allocation agreement for the project was approved by the Ministry of Oil and Gas in 2013. Major contracts for the project were awarded in 2014 and work is expected to be completed by 2018.

LLP is expected to generate 450 direct jobs and around 1,200 indirect jobs. It will increase Orpic's polyethylene and polypropylene production by one million tonnes, increasing the total production by 1.4 million tonnes by 2018.

Liwa Plastics Project details

LLP involves the construction of a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction plant in Fahud, a 300km pipeline between Fahud and Sohar Industrial Port Area for gas transportation, a 900,000tpa steam cracker unit, a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant, a linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant, a 300,000tpa polypropylene plant, a pyrolysis gasoline (PyGas) hydrogenation unit, a 46,000tpa butene-1 plant and a methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) unit.

Certain products from the petrochemical complex, including hydrogen, MTBE, pyrolysis fuel oil and PyGas, will be used to feed the existing refinery, aromatics complex and polypropylene plant at the Sohar Industrial Complex.

Feedstocks and licenced technologies

Feedstock for the project will be the light ends produced from Orpic's Sohar refinery and aromatics plant. It will include the natural gas liquids (NGLs) extracted from the existing natural gas supplies and the dry gas produced from the Residue FCC (RFCC) unit and new delayed coking unit, which is being constructed as part of the Sohar Refinery Improvement Project.

NGL extraction technology for the NGL plant at Fahud will be provided by Randall. The technology licencor for the MTBE unit is Chicago Bridge and Iron (CB&I). CB&I is also providing the ethylene technology for the ethylene plant, which will integrate its SRT cracking heaters.

The polypropylene plant will implement LyondellBasell's Spheripol process. Univation will provide the technology for the polyethylene unit, while the technology for the PyGas hydrogenation unit will be licenced by Axens.

Contractors involved

Arkema opened a new Methyl Acrylate production plant at its Clear Lake facility in Texas, US, in July 2014.

The contract to provide the front end engineering and design (FEED) services for the project was awarded to CB&I in March 2014. The $40m Project Management Consultancy (PMC) contract for the project was awarded to Engineers India Limited (EIL).

Marketing commentary

Orpic is fully owned by the Sultanate of Oman and Oman Oil Company SAOC. The company is an integration of Oman Refineries and Petrochemicals Company, ORPC, Aromatics Oman (AOL) and Oman Polypropylene (OPP).

The company has two refineries located in Sohar and Muscat, which have a combined production capacity of 222,000bpd. Its aromatics plant located within the Sohar Port Industrial Complex has a production capacity of 818,000tpa of paraxylene and 198,000tpa of benzene, while its polypropylene production plant within the same complex has a production capacity of 350,000tpa. The company employs more than 1,600 people in these four plants.

NRI Energy Technology