Qatar to slash condensate exports by October 2016
Qatar will double its capacity for processing condensate by almost 150,000 barrels a day (bpd) in August when trials begin on a new splitter at the Ras Laffan refinery with commercial production starting by October, a Qatar Petroleum official said.
Condensate exports from Qatar will drop from the current 500,000 bpd to about 350,000 bpd when the 146,000-bpd splitter starts operating, said the official, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak publicly.
Qatari condensate exports have already been facing competition from US and Iranian light oil shipments but the splitter should help the Gulf state soak up some of its condensate at home.
“Overall, there should be less condensate supply in August, but it would still be enough for everyone considering how long the market was in July,” a Singapore-based trader said.
Output of full-range naphtha will double with the start of the new condensate splitter, Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, marketing director of condensate at Tasweeq said in 2014. Part of this would then be used as feedstock for new gasoline and aromatics units that are set to come online in late 2017.
The Qatari unit’s start-up will increase Middle East naphtha exports to Asia, which is already struggling with a stubborn supply glut and tepid demand from gasoline producers.
“(Qatar is) ambitious in their plan to ramp up production but it would be foolhardy to push a new plant so quickly,” the trader said, pointing to the naphtha glut. –Reuters