QVC starts expansion studies

27 September 2002

Qatar Vinyl Company (QVC)has launched feasibility studies into the expansion of its Mesaieed complex, following board approval in mid September. The studies, which will take in both technical and marketing issues, are due to be completed in the first quarter of 2003. QVC, which began production in April 2001, is Qatar's only producer of intermediate petrochemicals.

Speaking at the Finance & Investment Conference in London on 20 September, QVC general manager Hamad Rashed al-Nuaimi said that the feasibility study would look at three main options for expansion:

doubling vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) capacity;

doubling VCM capacity and introducing a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) capability;

undertaking a major debottlenecking of the existing complex.

QVC has capacity of 290,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of caustic soda, 180,000 t/y of ethylene dichloride (EDC) and 230,000 t/y of VCM. In August, the VCM and EDC units were operating at 110 per cent of design capacity. In addition to a possible expansion, QVC is considering refinancing or repricing $475 million worth of loans extended to part-finance its original complex.

QVC's shareholders are Qatar Petroleum(25.5 per cent), Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco- 31.9 per cent), France's Atofina(12.9 per cent) and Norway's Norsk Hydro(29.7 per cent).

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