UK-Dutch Shell Group plans to develop a number of production units downstream of its joint venture complex at Ras Laffan Industrial City with state-owned Qatar Petroleum (QP).

The oil major and petrochemicals producer hopes to build a 250,000-300,000 tonne-a-year (t/y) alpha-olefins plant and a 300,000 t/y oxo-alcohols units at the planned complex.

A final investment decision on the complex is expected in 2013 with commercial production slated for 2017, says Ben van Beurden, vice-president of Shell Chemicals at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) forum in Dubai.

Shell signed an agreement with QP in early December, setting the scope and commercial principles for the joint development of a $6.5bn petrochemicals complex, which would include a steam cracker, a 1.5 million t/y mono-ethylene glycol (MEG) plant, and a 300,000 t/y linear alpha-olefins plant. At the time, Shell said it would produce an unnamed olefin derivative (MEED 9:12:11).

Alpha-olefins, such as butene, hexane and octene, are intermediary chemicals used in the production of polyethylene. They can also be used for synthetic oils, detergents and oil additives. Oxo-alcohols are used as solvents in the production of vinyl plastics.