‘We are nearing completion of the functional specifications and it will go out this quarter,’ says a company spokesman. In addition to the EPC, the selected contractor will provide technology. Q-Chem II is managing the cracker on behalf of Ras Laffan Ethylene Company, which is a 54/46 venture between Q-Chem II and the local/French Qatofin.

Prospective bidders for the cracker, which will be the largest in the world, include Kellogg Brown & Root, Stone & Websterand ABB Lummus Global– all US-based, Paris-based Technip-Coflexipand Germany’s Linde. Q-Chem II is planning to open commercial bids in the third quarter of the year and award the contract in the second quarter of 2004, to coincide with financial close.

Besides the construction of the cracker, the successful contractor will build an ethylene pipeline from Ras Laffan to Mesaieed, where the feedstock will be delivered to downstream units.

Q-Chem II’s share of the ethylene output will be used by a new 350,000-t/y high-density polyethylene (HDPE) unit and a 350,000-t/y alpha olefins plant at Mesaieed. The company is preparing to invite international engineering companies to bid for the front-end engineering and design (FEED) and project management package. The FEED is due to be completed in the third quarter, allowing for the EPC package to be issued for bid before the end of the year. Technology for the two units is to be provided by Q-Chem II’s foreign shareholder, the US’ Chevron Phillips Chemical Company.

The Q-Chem venture inaugurated on 21 January its first plant at Mesaieed. The estimated $1,200 million complex comprises a 500,000-t/y ethane cracker, a 453,000-t/y polyethylene unit and a 47,000-t/y hexene-1 plant. Q-Chem is a 51:49 joint venture between Qatar Petroleumand Chevron Phillips.