The project will not only enhance the production of aromatics in Oman, but more importantly will enable the sultanate to produce polyethylene, which is in great demand globally, for the first time.
Speaking at the Polyolefin Plastics Arabia Conference on Monday, Musab al Mahrouqi, chief executive of Orpic, said the company plans to start the selection process for a technology provider before the end of 2013 while the target for completion is 2018.
“The Sohar Plastics project will further upgrade the production of natural gas liquids (NGL) extracted from natural gas. It will provide good returns to Orpic and its shareholders, opening further opportunities for growth. It will also enhance Oman's capacity in the petrochemicals business and provide potential feedstock material for downstream industries,” he said.
The project will utilise naturalgas components, including ethane, propane, butane and others, for the first time in Oman. The project will include an extraction plant in Fahud, near the gas fields, from where NGL will be transported to the Sohar Industrial Port via a 300km pipeline which will be built as a part of the project.
According to Mahrouqi, the project will comprise six parts: The NGL plant in Fahud, the NGL pipeline from Fahud to Sohar, a steam cracker, a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plant, a linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) plant and expansion of the current polypropylene plant.
He added that the project will eventually produce 840,000 tonnes per annum of polyethylene, HDPE and LLDPE and around 258,000 tonnes of polypropylene. “Plastics production in Oman will increase by around 1bn tonnes with a definite impact on the capacity of fuel and aromatics production. In addition to the many benefits that the project will bring to Orpic, the Sohar Plastics project will also bring additional benefits to Oman.”
“In 2011, Oman's petrochemical industry grew 17 per cent to touch a capacity of 8.5bn tonnes. The implementation of the project will ensure a bigger contribution of the manufacturing sector to the GDP and will increase revenues from non-oil exports,” added Mahrouqi.
The Polyolefin Plastics Arabia Conference, co-organised by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates and the Society of Plastics Engineers and held under the auspices of H E Mohammed al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, presented an interactive technical platform on the science of polyolefins, with original and peer-reviewed presentations on new developments triggered in the field of plastics technology.