Qatar’s Laffan Refinery Company (RLC) is on the verge of awarding the consortium of Taiwan’s CTCI and Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the  $1bn phase two expansion at its complex in Ras Laffan.

MEED reported in late February that three bidders had been shortlisted for the scheme. However, an announcement is expected to be made in late April that will reveal CTCI and Chiyoda as the winner.

“This expansion is going to be one of the main drivers of [Qatar’s] petrochemicals industry,” says a source familiar with the project. “CTCI has got a decent track record for downstream projects in Qatar so this has probably helped them.”   

The Laffan refinery expansion, will process an additional 146,000 barrels a day (b/d) of condensate recovered from one of the world’s largest non-associated gas fields, the North Field. Technip carried out the front-end engineering and design (feed) for the project.

Qatar currently sells off a large proportion of its condensate raw to international customers, so it is keen to add as much value as possible by processing it into a range of downstream products.

The phase two project will double the capacity of the current refinery. The product mix is expected to remain the same. The Laffan refinery currently produces 61,000 b/d of naphtha, 52,000 b/d of jet fuel, 24,000 b/d of gasoil and 9,000 b/d of liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

The complex will also add a benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) unit that will process aromatics feedstock to be used in the domestic petrochemicals sector. The offtake is expected to fuel a range of new petrochemicals industries in Qatar. MEED reported in April 2012 that Qatar Petroleum (QP) was tendering the feasibility study for the proposed Ras Laffan aromatics plant that will be built close to the Laffan refinery complex.

QP is the leading shareholder of the RLC refinery with a holding of 51 per cent. The remaining shares are split between several international companies. The US’ ExxonMobil, France’s Total, Malaysia’s Idemitsu, and Japan’s Cosmo hold 10 per cent each. Japan’s Mitsui and Marubeni, each have 4.5 per cent.