Shell is close to concluding the tendering strategy for its olefins joint venture with Qatar Petroleum (QP) in Ras Laffan.

Shell signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with QP in December 2010 for the estimated $6bn complex. The project will include a monoethylene glycol  (MEG) plant and other olefin derivatives that would boost the plant’s output to more than 2 million tonnes of finished products.

The company is undertaking a joint study with QP on the project, with US company FosterWheeler appointed as consultants, and is currently considering its strategy for tendering the front-end engineering and design (feed) and project management consultancy (PMC) work.

[Shell] wants to undertake this process with a certain contractor strategy,” says a source close to the project. “I believe that they are going to decide within weeks.”

Shell replaced US’ ExxonMobil as QP’s partner, after the American company pulled out in January 2010.

The feedstock will come from the $19bn Shell GTL gas-to-liquids project, also located in Ras Laffan, which is currently commissioning.

Qatar aims to increase annual petrochemicals production to at least 18 million tonnes by 2015-16.