Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) and US firm Dow Chemical have announced a joint venture to operate and expand the Ras Lanuf petrochemical complex in Libya, the NOC said Friday.
“The partnership will bring a respected global company and its expertise together with a proven national enterprise to upgrade and produce world-grade products while enhancing the technical abilities of the Libyan workforce,” NOC president Shukri Ghanem said in a statement.
It said that Dow Chemical was the first major international firm to participate in such economic development of Libya’s petrochemical industry.
Ras Ranuf, on the Mediterranean coast 600 kilometers (370 miles) east of the capital Tripoli, is the country’s most important petrochemical complex and was built in the 1980s.
Enhancements at Ras Lanuf “will position the joint venture for future growth as a world-class supplier of polyethylene and polypropylene,” the statement said.
“This venture is consistent with Dow’s strategy to grow its position in basic plastics and chemicals through joint ventures,” it quoted Dow Chemical’s chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris as saying.
“Our participation in the partnership with NOC at Ras Lanuf will benefit from an advantaged strategic location on the Mediterranean and competitive feedstock,” he said.
The joint venture agreement encompasses Ras Lanuf’s existing naphtha cracker, two polyethylene production facilities, and associated infrastructure.
Ras Lanuf’s existing naphtha cracker produces 330,000 tons of ethylene a year.
The project will include refurbishing and expanding the existing units, followed by construction of an ethane cracker and additional polyethylene and polypropylene facilities.
Later phases will include building additional hydrocarbon, plastics, and chemical production facilities based on natural gas.
Libya is Africa’s second largest oil producer at 1.7 million barrels per day. It also has reserves of natural gas estimated at 1.314 billion square meters.
Dow Chemical, operating in 175 countries and employing 43,000 people, has annual sales of $49 billion.

(Middle East Times)