Qatar's expanding petrochemical industry is expected to generate increasing revenue and produce numerous new jobs in the coming years, business leaders and sector specialists told Al-Shorfa. The petrochemical industry is an important source of hard currency for Qatar, ranking just behind the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil sectors. Qatar ranks second among Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries in terms of its petrochemical industry, according to Business Goodyear, an industry magazine.
The small nation-state plans to increase its current production of petrochemicals to more than double to strengthen its foothold in the industry, the magazine reported September 1st. Petrochemicals, which represent a key sector for the economies of GCC member states, are used in the manufacture of materials such as plastics, cleaning materials, resin and lubricants. Petrochemical products include low-density polyethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol, fertilizers, olefins, oxo alcohols, vinyl and plastic.
"The Qatari government realised the importance of this industry and its high yield in hard currency, so it expanded it," Qatari businessman Ahmed Hussein al-Khalaf told Al-Shorfa. "Construction is currently under way on the two largest petrochemical projects in the Gulf region," he said. The government remains the largest shareholder in petrochemical investments due to the high cost of these projects, he added.
$25 billon to expand the sector
"Petrochemical industries in Qatar have seen a remarkable increase during the past few years," said Qatar Fuel Additives Company general manager Nasser al-Kuwari. Qatar plans "to invest $25 billion for the expansion and development of the domestic petrochemical industry and the chemical industry", he said. In 2012, the Qatar Petroleum and Shell oil companies announced plans to develop an olefins project in Ras Laffan Industrial City at a total cost of $6.4 billion.
According to estimates, the project will produce 1.1 million tonnes of ethylene and 170,000 tonnes of propylene per year. Many plastics manufacturing industries use low-density polyethylene (LDPE) in the manufacture of cables and wires, injection moulds and pipes, agricultural product packaging, paint and lamination, said Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) CEO and deputy chairman of the board Mohammed Yousef al-Mulla.
QAPCO operates a plant adjacent to existing facilities in the Mesaieed Industrial City as part of the Qatari strategy to make optimal use of natural resources in Qatar. "Qatar complies with the quality and environment protection standards in its petrochemical industries," al-Mulla added.