Qatar Petroleum (QP) has awarded US consultants Nexant a contract to carry out a pre-feasibility study for a new linear alkyl benzene (LAB) and linear alkyl benzene sulphonate (LABS) project.

The state-owned energy firm intends to establish the plant at Ras Laffan Industrial City, 80 kilometres north of the capital, Doha.

The study will evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of different feedstocks, such as normal-paraffin feedstock gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants, kerosene or a blend of the two. The study will also determine whether to source benzene feedstock locally from the Ras Laffan Condensate Refinery, Ras Laffan Olefin Company, or though imports.

Nexant will also identify the optimal product slate for the project, as well as identifying the necessary technology and licensors required. Finally, the firm will provide a forecast of market supply and demand conditions and an outlook for prices.

LAB is the most common raw material in the manufacture of biodegradable household detergents.