The project was first announced in 2019.
QatarEnergy has awarded the early site contract for the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Project (RLPP) to Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) on Wednesday, the state-owned gas company announced.
The Qatari company was joined by Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (CPChem) during the announcement. The project is expected to increase Qatar’s polyethylene (PE) output capacity by approximately 64%, with production due to commence in 2026.
“The award of this contract marks the start of the execution phase of RLPP, which is a major building block in QatarEnergy’s efforts to further expand and diversify its business portfolio and implement world-class downstream project,” said Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi.
CCC was also awarded a lump-sum contract to prepare the site for the project’s facility Ras Laffan Industrial City.
The RLPP, a joint venture between QatarEnergy and US-based Chevron Phillips Chemical, was initially announced in 2019.
Last year, the project completed its Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) and is now in the Engineering, Procurement and Construction Contract (EPC) tendering phase. Once completed, a final investment decision is expected to be made.
The major project will feature a 2,080 kilo tons per annum (KTA) Ethane Cracking Unit, the largest of its kind in the Middle East and one of the largest on a global scale.
Qatar’s PE production capacity is also expected to grow with the facility’s two High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) units. PE is the most common type of plastic and is widely used for basic products including bottles and bags.
While plastic is non-biodegradable, it gradually changes under sunlight and can often be recycled. It also does not break down in public landfills nor turn into hazardous gasses. However, it can accumulate if released into water and ends up in the digestive systems of sea animals.
Many countries have also shifted to bio-PE as it is more environmentally friendly and releases less carbon emissions during its production.
Last month, the Qatar cabinet approved the Ministry of Municipality’s draft decision to ban single-use plastic bags in the country. Once approved, institutions, companies and shopping centres can no longer provide customers with single-use bags in packaging, presenting, circulating, carrying, or transporting products.
This will make way for the introduction of multi-use, biodegradable, paper, or woven bags.
Studies have found that single-use plastics are one of the major reasons for water pollution around the world. Figures gathered by the National Geographic and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation revealed that 91% of the world’s plastic is not recycled.
Meanwhile, 70% of non-recycled plastic ends up in landfills or the environment. It is now estimated that the amount of plastic in water will outnumber fish by 2050.