QatarEnergy, CPChem break ground on Ras Laffan ethylene complex

Feb. 19, 2024
QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC have started construction of what will become the Middle East’s largest ethane cracker at the Ras Laffan petrochemical project.

QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LLC (CPChem)—a 50-50 joint venture (JV) of Chevron Corp.’s Chevron USA Inc. and Phillips 66 Co.—have started construction of what will become the Middle East’s largest ethane cracker at the JV’s Ras Laffan petrochemical project (RLPP) in Ras Laffan Industrial City, Qatar, 80 km north of Doha (OGJ Online, June 9, 2022).

Official construction on the $6-billion integrated polymers complex kicked off Feb. 19 with laying of the project’s ceremonial foundation stone, the partners said in separate releases.

To be operated by Ras Laffan Petrochemicals (RLP)—a joint venture formed in 2023 by QatarEnergy (70%) and CPChem (30%)—the 435-acre RLPP site will house an ethane cracker equipped to produce 2.08 million tonnes/year (tpy) of ethylene and a two-train, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant with a total production capacity of 1.68 million tpy (OGJ Online, Jan. 9, 2023).

Scheduled for startup by yearend 2026, the RLPP will raise Qatar’s overall petrochemical production capacity to about 14 million tpy, boosting its output of ethylene and HDPE by more than 40% and 50%, respectively, QatarEnergy said.

Start of construction on RLPP follows the partners’ securing $4.4 billion in financing for the project in October 2023, as well as early site-preparation works that began in June 2022 (OGJ Online, Oct. 10, 2023).

While CPChem—which is providing project management services on the project—previously confirmed it has licensed its proprietary MarTech loop slurry process for HDPE production at the complex, details regarding technology licensing for the site’s ethylene production have yet to be revealed.

US project update

Upon announcing groundbreaking for the RLPP, QatarEnergy also confirmed production will begin in 2026 at the partners’ US-based grassroots petrochemical complex under development along the Texas Gulf Coast in Orange, Tex., about 113 miles east of Houston.

To be operated by Golden Triangle Polymers Co. LLC—a separate JV between CPChem (51%) and QatarEnergy (49%)—the proposed $8.5-billion grassroots integrated polymers complex will include a 2.08-million tpy ethylene plant and two 1-million tpy HDPE units for production of proprietary Marlex polyethylene pellets for sale primarily to manufacturers in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and Latin America (OGJ Online, Nov. 17, 2022).