QatarEnergy and its partner Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) have started construction on their $6bn Ras Laffan Petrochemicals project in Qatar.

The ceremonial foundation stone for the integrated polymers complex in Ras Laffan Industrial City was laid by the Amir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In January 2023, a final investment decision (FID) was made to construct the petrochemicals complex. By October 2023, the project had secured $4.4bn in financing through a senior debt financing package.

CPChem is overseeing the engineering, procurement, and construction of the facility, providing project management services. Site preparation commenced in June 2022, with startup anticipated in late 2026.

Spanning 435 acres, the Ras Laffan Petrochemicals project will feature an ethane processing plant with a capacity of 2.1 million tons per annum of ethylene, positioning it as the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East and one of the world`s largest.

By the end of 2026, the facility is expected to elevate Qatar’s ethylene production capacity by over 40% and its overall petrochemical production capacity to approximately 14 million tons per annum.

Furthermore, the facility will include two polyethylene trains generating a combined annual output of 1.7 million tons of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) polymer products. This will boost Qatar’s overall production by about 50%.

Qatar Minister of State for Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy president and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “The Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex is being built at a cost of six billion dollars, making it the largest investment in history of QatarEnergy in Qatar’s petrochemicals sector.

“There is no doubt that this is an important landmark in QatarEnergy’s downstream expansion strategy as it will reinforce our integrated position as a global energy player and generate significant economic benefits for the country.”

QatarEnergy holds a 70% equity share in the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex, with CPChem owning the remaining 30%.

Designed with modern, energy-saving technology, the Ras Laffan Petrochemicals project is anticipated to have a lower greenhouse gas emissions intensity compared to similar global facilities.

The polyethylene units will utilise CPChem’s MarTech loop slurry process to produce high-density polyethylene, primarily targeting export from Qatar.

CPChem president and CEO Bruce Chinn said: “This project advances CPChem’s long-held strategy to expand its operations in regions where feedstock is reliable and abundant and will help meet the global demand for polyethylene products.

“CPChem and QatarEnergy have a long history of safely building and operating petrochemical facilities, and this celebration represents the next step toward bringing these world-scale assets into our successful portfolio here in Qatar.”