To be called the ethane recovery unit (ERU) project, the proposed scheme will cost an estimated KD 110 million ($365 million). ‘It [the project] will be 100 per cent owned by us and will extract additional ethane from the lean gas at the LPG [liquefied petroleum gas] unit at the Mina al-Ahmadi refinery,’ Sami Fahed al-Rushaid, KNPC acting chairman and assistant managing director (planning & projects), told MEED in an interview on 21 September. A final decision is yet to be taken on the capacity of the new plant, but it is expected to be at least 80 million cubic feet a day (cf/d). The US’ Fluor Daniel is preparing the front-end engineering and designs (FEED).

‘Once approval is received, we will move into the implementation phase. There will also be a need to sign an offtake agreement with Equate II [Equate Petrochemical Company II],’ he said.

The local Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC)and the US’ Dow Chemical Company formally announced in early May plans to build ethylene and related products capacity at the existing Equate site and an ethyl benzene/styrene unit nearby (MEED 8:5:03).

The new olefins capacity will be fully integrated into Equate I. Under Equate II, an 850,000-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethane cracker will be built alongside a 600,000-t/y ethylene glycol/ethylene oxide unit. In addition, at least 400,000 t/y of new polyethylene capacity will also be brought on stream.

KNPC already has a contract to supply 70 million cf/d of feedstock to Equate I. ‘ERU is economically viable and will serve the future demand for petrochemicals,’ Al-Rushaid said.