Qatar clears largest ever investment in petchems
QatarEnergy has reached a final investment decision (FID) with US major Chevron on developing what would be the largest petrochemical investment in the country's history — a $6bn olefins and polyethylene complex in the industrial city of Ras Laffan.
The two partners agreed on January 8 to form a joint venture to implement the project, with QatarEnergy taking a 70% stake in the partnership and Chevron assuming 30%. QatarEnergy also announced the award of an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the ethylene plant to a joint venture between South Korea's Samsung Engineering and Taiwan's CTCI.
An EPC contract for the polyethylene facility was issued to Italy's Maire Tecnimont and US firm Emerson.
The Ras Laffan complex is due to start up in 2026, comprising a 2.1mn metric ton/year ethane cracker — the largest of its kind in the Middle East and one of the largest worldwide, according to QatarEnergy. The complex will also have two polyethylene trains with a combined output of 1.7mn mt/yr of high-density polyethylene, raising Qatar's overall petrochemical production capacity to nearly 14mn mt/yr.
Qatar is looking to commercialise more of the ethane that is produced as a by-product of its substantial natural gas production by building up its petrochemicals sector. Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern hydrocarbon producers are making similar moves.
The Ras Laffan project, first conceived in 2019, comes as Qatar prepares to ramp up its LNG liquefaction capacity through two expansion stages at the giant North Field hub. Its national LNG output is set to reach 126mn mt/yr by 2027 as a result of these investments, up from 77mn mt currently.
QatarEnergy is also expanding its petrochemicals footprint overseas. The FID at Ras Laffan comes two months after the company, again in partnership with Chevron, greenlit the $8.5bn Golden Triangle polymers project on the US Gulf Coast in Texas.