QAPCO Polyethylene Plant, Qatar

The Qatar Petrochemicals Company (QAPCO), a majority-owned subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum (QP) established in 1974, is constructing a low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in the Mesaieed Industrial City near Doha in Qatar.

With the world price of oil just balancing at an all-time high and the price of commodities and materials going up and up, it would seem to be a good investment.

The new plant will make use of natural gas feedstock obtained from the Ras Laffan Industrial complex (the QAPCO ethylene expansion project) and other sources as they become available from Qatar Petroleum.

QAPCO is currently 80% owned by Industrial Qatar (IQ) and 20% owned by Total Petrochemicals of France.

IQ is 70% controlled and owned by QP, the balance is public.

The company markets LDPE raw material under the 'lotrene' brand name and exports the product worldwide to over 74 countries, in the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa. QAPCO hopes to expand its presence in the Asian market.

Contractors involed in constructing the low-density polyethylene (ldpe) plant

"The new plant will make use of natural gas feedstock obtained from the Ras Laffan Industrial complex."

In November 2007 Uhde, a German company and part of the Thyssen Krupp Group, was awarded the front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the new polyethylene facility at Mesaieed. The new plant will produce around 300,000tpa of low-density polyethylene.

The engineering, procurement and construction contract was also awarded to Uhde in June 2009. The contract is valued at $550m.

A $165m sub-contract for the project was awarded to Tekfen Construction in July 2009.

Construction started in December 2009 and is expected to be completed by December 2011.

The facility will licence technology for the polyethylene production from Lyondell Basell Industries of the Netherlands, which will license its Lupotech polyethylene production technology.

Infrastructure support

The Qatofin polyethylene plant, which will come into service during 2009, is situated adjacent to the existing two QAPCO polyethylene plants at Mesaieed, each with a capacity of 350,000tpa.

"The new plant will produce around 300,000tpa of low-density polyethylene."

The new QAPCO plant will be constructed adjacent to these other three facilities and will be able to share infrastructure.

The feedstock of gas for the new QAPCO plant will come in part from the ethylene cracker developed at Ras Laffan in a joint project between Qatar Petroleum, Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LLC, QAPCO and Total Petrochemicals France.

This cracker was completed by Technip and came into operation in May 2010.

Feedstock will also come from the QAPCO ethylene cracker expansion at Mesaieed with a capacity of 720,000tpa; a parallel train added an additional 200,000tpa capacity at a cost of $230m.