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US to build world’s largest ethane cracker plant

US is set to construct the world’s largest ethane cracker plant in the US Gulf Coast region.  Qatar Petrochemical(QP) and Chevron Phillips(CP) Chemical have signed and agreement to jointly develop the project.

The complex is expected to comprise a 1,900-kiloton-per-annum (KTA) ethane cracker and two high-density polyethylene (HDPE) units with a combined capacity of 1,680 KTA. QP will own a 70% majority share in the joint venture and CP Chem will hold the remaining 30% stake. Chevron Phillips will also provide project management and oversight, and it will be responsible for operation and management of the facility.

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Ethane cracker plant

The plant’s location will give it access to significant quantities of ethane produced by US shale basins, including the prolific Permian Basin. The facility will raise Qatar’s polyethylene production capacity by 82%. It will support an estimated 9,000 jobs during construction period, and once operational the facility is expected to provide 600 full-time jobs.

“Qatar is one of the world’s leading producers of the natural gas liquids that will fuel these world-scale assets. This project fits perfectly with our global strategy to build petrochemical assets in regions of the world where feed stock options are abundant and competitively priced,” Mark E. Lashier, CP Chem’s president and CEO.

The project is the second major project Chevron Phillips has undertaken in the region in the past two years after it recently opened its new ethane cracker in Cedar Bayou. The region is in the midst of a second wave of petrochemical projects as major oil and chemical companies are hoping to further capitalize on the growing supply of natural gas feed stock from Texas.

The project is expected to cost an estimated US $8bn. It is to be developed and constructed in Ras Laffan Industrial City, an industrial hub located 80 km north of Doha, Qatar, which is administrated by Qatar Petroleum. A final investment decision is expected no later than 2021, followed by full funding and the award of engineering, procurement, and construction contracts, with award planned for 2021. The facility is to be operational by 2024.

 

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