Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/11/2014 -- The Qatari petrochemicals industry has so far focused on high-volume production of basic chemicals. Recent developments show that the country is striving to add value to output with greater diversification in downstream segments. The move towards a well-integrated downstream value chain will increase the proportion of domestic use and consumption of locally produced petrochemicals. This should provide some cushion to the impact of increasing competition from US and Asian producers, which are set to ramp up capacities.
BMI forecasts that by 2018, Qatar's ethylene capacity should reach 7.4mn tonnes per annum (tpa), more than treble the country's capacity in 2013. This will be accompanied by polyethylene capacity of 4.49mntpa (up 180%) and 540,000tpa of polypropylene (PP). Over the next decade, Qatar plans to spend USD25bn on expanding its domestic petrochemical industry. It also intends to more than double its annual petrochemical production capacity - from 9.2mn tonnes to 23mn tonnes - by 2020.
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BMI notes the following developments in Qatar's petrochemical industry:
- QAPCO's plan to expand its facilities and increase its production capacity to around 5mn tpa by 2019 is on track. Qatar's reliance on ethane feedstock has limited its petrochemicals industry to some extent, as it does not produce the same range of by-products as other countries, such as the US and China, which rely on other feedstocks such as naphtha. This means it is likely to be sidelined in the special chemicals markets because, although the government is seeking to redress this imbalance with mixed crackers, other industries are also capitalising on the increasing global demand, and Qatar will be left behind.
- EPS Qatar is planning to set up a 50,000tpa expandable polystyrene (EPS) plant in Mesaieed industrial city in the south of Doha, Qatar at a cost of EUR110mn. Construction is due to commence by mid-2015 and completion is scheduled by end-2017 with plans to increase capacity to 100,000tpa by end-2020. Once completed it will be the largest EPS plant in the Middle East and North Africa region.
- Qatar Petroleum (QP) and two Japanese companies - Zeon Corporation and Mitsui - are planning the development of 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 Company (RLOC). The butadiene will be extracted from feedstock and then converted into high-value elastomers like styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) and polybutadiene rubber (PBR).
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