Three international contractors are understood to have been invited to submit bids by the end of August for the engineering, procurement and construction contract. They are Italy’s Tecnimont, the UK’s Simon Carves and Germany’s Uhde.

Known as LDPE-3, the plant will have capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year (t/y), which could be expanded in the future to 300,000 t/y. Basell, of The Netherlands, is supplying the technology.

The plant’s front-end engineering design has been completed by Uhde (MEED 27:4:07).

Qapco says it expects to approach banks about the project finance element for the plant by the end of the year. In an interview in this week’s MEED (page 31), Mohammed Al-Mulla, general manager at Qapco, suggests that up to half of the finance for the project could come from bank loans. It hopes the plant itself will be commissioned by the end of 2011.

Ethylene feedstock for the facility will come from Qapco’s second ethylene expansion project at Ras Laffan, which came on stream last year, and from Qatofin, a joint venture of France’s Total Petrochemicals, Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Qapco. The two sources should provide more than 1 million t/y of ethylene, which will be supplied by pipeline (MEED 2:6:06).

Output from the facility is targeted for export to the Asian and European markets.