Exxon Mobil Chemical Company is hopeful of finalising an agreement with Qatar Petroleum (QP) next year on setting up a world scale ethane cracker project at Ras Laffan, reported the Gulf Times.

Exxon Mobil director and executive vice-president Harry J Longwell said a feasibility study on an ethane-based cracker and ethylene derivatives complex at the Ras Laffan Industrial City will be conducted over the next 12 months.

QP and Exxon Mobil Chemical Company, a division of the Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corporation, signed a statement of intent (SoI) last month to conduct a feasibility study on the ethane cracker project.

The agreement was signed during the visit of Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah’s visit to the US in June.

The joint study will explore the technical and commercial aspects of a world-class petrochemical growth platform in Qatar, Mr Longwell told the Gulf Times. The complex will utilise ethane feedstock from the new gas development projects in the North Field and supply “competitively advantaged products” to Asia and Europe.

He was quoted as saying: “We have not gone into such details. We have only agreed to a feasibility study on a world-scale ethane-based cracker and ethylene derivatives complex at the Ras Laffan Industrial City.”

He said though Exxon Mobil and QP were optimistic of the project, its establishment depended ultimately on the feasibility report.

“We need to work out the costs and the economics of the project as well. Nevertheless, we are optimistic,” he said.

Exxon Mobil Chemical Company produces a wide range of products including olefins, aromatics, fluids, synthetic rubber, polyethylene, polypropylene, oriented polypropylene packaging films, plasticisers, synthetic lubricant basestocks and additives for fuels and lubricants.