Four other companies were prequalified to bid by mid July for the study contract. They are ABB Lummus Global, Halliburton KBRand Stone & Webster, all US-based, and Germany’s Linde.

The study will cover the 1.3 million-tonne-a-year (t/y) ethylene cracker planned at Ras Laffan by Q-Chem II and the local/French venture, Qatofin; the proposed 120-kilometre pipeline, which will carry ethylene from Ras Laffan to Mesaieed; and the downstream units to be built by Q-Chem II at Mesaieed. These will be located at the existing Qatar Chemical Company (Q-Chem)complex and include new high density polyethylene (HDPE) and alpha olefin plants, each with a capacity of 350,000 t/y.

The new facilities are expected to be commissioned by mid 2007. The schedule implies that the first engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts will be awarded in the second half of 2003. The financial adviser for Q-Chem II is the Royal Bank of Scotland.