ERJ staff report (PR)
Boston, Massachusetts – Qatar’s petrochemicals industry is progressing plans to diversify into downstream segments as a counter to capacity expansions among US and Asian producers, according to market analysis firm Business Monitor International (BMI).
Over the next decade, Qatar plans to spend $25bn on expanding its domestic petrochemical industry, says a BMI report – highlighted by distributor Fast market Research. The country, it notes, also intends to more than double its annual petrochemical production capacity – from 9,200 7,400 kilotonnes per annum (ktpa) to 23,000 ktpa by 2020.
However, Qatar's reliance on ethane feedstock has limited its petrochemicals industry’s capacity to produce the same range of by-products as countries, including the US and China, that leverage other feedstocks such as naphtha.
“This means that Qatar could be side-lined in the special chemicals market,” said BMI, though it noted that the government was seeking to redress this imbalance with investment in mixed crackers.
By 2018, meanwhile, Qatar's ethylene capacity should reach 7,400 ktpa – more than treble its 2013 level – while polyethylene capacity is set to increase 180 percent to 4,500 ktpa.
Also, as ERJ reported last December, Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Japanese companies Zeon Corp. and Mitsui are planning an integrated butadiene extraction and elastomer complex in Ras Laffan Industrial City.
Under the agreement, the partners will be undertaking a detailed feasibility study to evaluate the technical, commercial and economic aspects of the integrated world scale butadiene and synthetic rubber/ elastomer project.
The feedstock will come from the planned Al-Sejeel petrochemicals complex and the Al-Karaana petrochemicals complex as well as from the existing plant of Ras Laffan Olefins Co. The butadiene will be extracted from feedstock and then converted into elastomers, including styrene-butadiene and polybutadiene materials.