The Business Year

Nasser Jeham Al-Kuwari

QATAR - Industry

Team Player

General Manager, Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC)

Bio

Having served in several key leadership roles in a career that spans over 20 years in the energy and industrial sectors, Nasser Jeham Al-Kuwari was appointed General Manager and member of the Board of Directors of Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC) on January 1, 2012. With a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Bridgeport University in the US, he was previously the Production Manager of QP-Dukhan and member of the Board of Directors of Qatar Fertilizers Company Limited (QAFCO).

"By 2020, Qatar aims to produce around 23 million tons of petrochemicals and other chemicals."

What is the history of the Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC) and what have the major milestones been so far?

QAFAC is a joint venture that was first established in 1991 by the Emir’s decree, and operations began in 1999. QAFAC’s shareholders include Industries Qatar (IQ), with 50%, OPIC Middle East Corporation (OMEC), with 20%, International Octane LLC (IOLLC), with 15%, and LCY Middle East Corp (LCYMEC), with 15%. The company started by producing methanol and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in the petrochemicals and chemical business. This is part of Qatar’s vision to diversify its resources and increase downstream productivity. In 2012, we had our best year ever in terms of financial results; our revenue was $928 million. As far as major milestones are concerned, in 2006 we initiated a revamp of our methanol plant. We started to receive CO2 from our neighbouring company, Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO). This CO2 helped us to enhance our methanol production from 2,500 tons to 2,950 tons per day. We also have the largest natural gas steam reformer in the world, with 960 tubes in our methanol plant. We are now proceeding with the installation of a high-tech facility that will help in the CO2 capturing process. This project will not only increase our capacity but will help in creating a healthier environment.

How is QAFAC aiming to cement Qatar’s role as a leading exporter of petrochemicals?

Qatar currently produces 9.5 million tons per year of petrochemicals. By 2020, Qatar aims to produce around 23 million tons of petrochemicals and other chemicals. This is a huge increase in just a few years. Qatar Petroleum (QP) already has a project with Shell for a major petrochemical complex, as well with Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO). Without question, we want to be part of Qatar’s vision in expanding the downstream petrochemical and chemical industries. We are exploring to see if there are any areas for expansion in methanol and MTBE, because there are new refineries being built and they will need MTBE. We really want to be a part of, and contribute to, the Qatar National Vision.

What efforts does QAFAC make in regard to sustainability?

This is very important for us, and we are establishing a strong foundation for social, economic, and environmental sustainability. We are aligning this with the National Vision for 2030 and the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016. We have a continuous effort to optimize and utilize Qatar’s vast hydrocarbon resources, as well as produce and export methanol and MTBE in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Our ultimate aim is to contribute to the social and economic development of the State of Qatar. Our strategy is really based on four themes: operational excellence, growth, value to stakeholders and shareholders, and the team. We have the QAFAC Carbon Dioxide Recovery (CDR) project, which is a really innovative solution that will reduce QAFAC’s total greenhouse emissions. Upon the completion of this project, the QAFAC CO2 recovery plant will become the first in the world to capture and utilize 500 tons of CO2 per day. We have no problem investing in projects to have a healthier environment. It is not only for us now, but also for the next generation in Qatar. We are introducing this project to the UN as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The State of Qatar could benefit from this through carbon credits. We also have flare management systems, as well as a leak detection and repair (LDR) program. We place a strong emphasis on social activities. QAFAC sponsors activities in schools and sports events. As we strongly promote sports, we have established a sports committee that runs various activities for the company and, with a great enthusiasm and passion for sports, we have established highly skilled cricket, volleyball, and basketball teams. As we have a rally car that uses 20% methanol, we have recently created our own rally team.

“By 2020, Qatar aims to produce around 23 million tons of petrochemicals and other chemicals.”

What is your outlook for the petrochemical industry in Qatar?

The outlook is very bright. We are studying different scenarios, aiming to expand inside and outside Qatar. There are real opportunities for expansion outside and inside the country at the moment. Various industries in Qatar are exploring different opportunities to expand outside Qatar. We have the expertise in petrochemicals; we have the knowledge, skilled people, and the technology, so the opportunities are there.

What is your vision and medium-term plan for QAFAC?

Our vision is to be among the top-five producers of methanol, its derivatives, and butane derivatives by 2020. Being amongst the top five means we have to double our production or more. This is our long-term vision. For the short term, we have our CO2 project. This will increase our production to around 100,000 tons of methanol per year. We will begin production at this plant by the end of 2014. Also, there are new refineries coming and they will need MTBE. In conjunction with QP, we are looking into the possibility of expansion; however, this is only in the initial phases at the moment. Hopefully, we can go ahead and say that we need to expand in either 2013 or 2014. We have one plant right now, for methanol and MTBE, located at Umm Said, and we are also exploring possibilities with QP to expand in Ras Laffan Industrial City.

© The Business Year – June 2013

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