From Natural Gas to Polyethylene
This major project — implemented by QAPCO, owned 80% by Industries Qatar and 20% by Total — is the third low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit on the Mesaieed site in the southeastern part of the emirate. The LDPE is intended mainly for the packaging industry, both locally and via exports to Africa, Asia and Europe.
Thanks to the new unit, which has a capacity of 300,000 tons a year, QAPCO has increased its total capacity to 700,000 tons a year, making Mesaieed the largest LDPE plant in the world. Upstream, the site also has an ethylene cracker with a capacity of 800,000 tons per year.
The manufacturing process uses ethane as a feedstock, primarily from Qatar's enormous natural gas reserves. It is less expensive than the petroleum-derived naphtha used as a feedstock in Europe.
Refining & Chemicals in Qatar
Present in Qatar since 1974, Total has interests in a number of major sites:
- 10% in the Qatargas-operated Ras Laffan condensate refinery. A project to double the facility’s current capacity of 146,000 barrels per day is under study.
- 20% in the QAPCO venture with Industries Qatar, which operates an ethane steam cracker that produces 800,000 tons a year of ethylene and three low density polyethylene lines that produce a combined total of 700,000 tons a year.
- 49% in the Qatofin joint venture, with QAPCO and Qatar Petroleum. The joint venture was set up in June 2002 to implement a large-scale integrated project comprising:
- A 46% interest in an ethane cracker in Ras Laffan with a production capacity of about 1.3 million tons a year of ethylene, started up in 2012. The feed gas comes from the neighboring offshore North Field. Total has interests in the field's production and the associated gas pipeline through the Dolphin and Qatargas 1 and 2 projects.
- The 128-kilometer ethylene pipeline from Ras Laffan to Mesaieed.
- A new downstream unit to produce linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). It has a design capacity of 450,000 tons a year, but has demonstrated its ability to produce 530,000 tons a year. The unit — the first of its kind in the country — diversifies Qatar’s petrochemical output.