By TBY | Qatar | Mar 25, 2015
Ras Laffan and Mesaieed are true examples of Qatar's ambition to add value to a range of exports.
Two signature developments in Qatar have been the industrial cities, Ras Laffan and Mesaieed. With Ras Laffan 80 km to the north of Doha, and Mesaieed 50 km to the south, their locations perfectly complement the services they provide to both the industry and energy sector in Qatar, and to their international partners.
Mesaieed facilitates companies in a wide range of industries from Qatargas to Qatar Lubricants. Ras Laffan, the bigger of the two cities, is the main site in Qatar for the production of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and Gas-to-Liquid (GTL). The solidarity of these two cities demonstrates that they are not only flagships for growth in Qatar, but also stable facilitators of a rapidly developing economy.
The economy of Qatar has become an icon of strength and growth due to the vast reserves of natural resources and a peaceful government. The development of industrial cities has enabled Qatar to provide solid platforms to conduct operations as well as improve services to industry.
Ras Laffan began operations in 1996 and has primarily become known for its production of LNG and for Ras Laffan Port, the largest artificial harbor in the world. Ras Laffan has been set up to make use of the copious amounts of gas in Qatar’s North Field reserves through the input of various industrial services. As the home of Qatargas and RasGas, it has had success in supporting the LNG market, while the progress that has been made with GTL products with ORXY GTL and Pearl GTL has showcased the diversity of services at Ras Laffan.
Mesaieed, initially created as a tanker terminal in 1949, became a municipality in 1997 and launched operations in 2004, marking it as a relatively young industrial city. It provides a range of services to facilitate the petrochemical industry in Qatar. These industrial companies use Mesaieed for their operations, demonstrating that the city acts as an intermediary and a genuine facilitator to a more diversified economy. Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Fuel Additives Ltd. (QAFAC), Qatar Fertiliser Co. (QAFCO), Qatar Petrochemical Co. (QAPCO) and Qatar Steel, all present in Mesaieed, form a solid backbone to the economy of Qatar as it moves toward the Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030. Investment opportunities are also abundant in Mesaieed as there have been various incentives such as 0% export duties and corporation tax.
Both these industrial cities guarantee a strong foundation for the Qatari economy as they cluster industrial operations and provide all the facilities for the export market. Efficiency in a multitude of areas has been vastly improved. Ras Laffan City is placed in the north of Qatar to facilitate trade not only with well-established partners in Asia, such as Japan, but also growing markets such as the UK. The city has become a hub of productivity, with Qatargas able to celebrate its 2,000th load of LNG from Ras Laffan not even five years after operations began.
Government interest in not only supporting but also improving access to Mesaieed has been significant. In September 2014, Ashghal started a $549 million project on the Mesaieed-Mashaf road, further improving accessibility to the city. Financial success for Mesaieed Petrochemical Holding Company (MPHC) has demonstrated that Mesaieed city provides a stable environment for investment and business. MPHC launched a $905 million IPO, which was the largest in the Middle East, suggesting confidence in its ability to strengthen its position. Its net profit of $247 million in 1H2014 is another indication of the solidity that Mesaieed provides as well as the further opportunities for growth.
The industrial cities will continue to play a key role in supporting economic growth and providing stability to industry in Qatar. Ras Laffan and Mesaieed are crucial to the facilitation and progression that is continuing to take place throughout Qatar. Ras Laffan, home to Qatargas, RasGas, and several multinationals is crucial in supporting the already booming LNG market as well as being the largest GTL facility in the world. Through its accommodation of some of Qatar’s flagship companies, Mesaieed has been able to support a range of industries throughout Qatar, which all possess the ability to help diversify Qatar’s export basket, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on gas exports. With state-of-the-art facilities and healthy support from the government, Ras Laffan and Mesaieed Cities are set to play a critical role in supporting a sustainable future.