Doha, 28 December 2009
- Qatar Fuel (WOQOD) today inaugurated its new LPG filling and distribution plant which is located in the New Industrial Area of Doha. The plant was formally opened by His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of WOQOD. In attendance were distinguished guests and senior managers from WOQOD.
In parallel to the inauguration of the new plant, WOQOD’s Chairman also announced the introduction of a new lighter and safer LPG 12kg cylinder under the brand name “SHAFAF”.
“SHAFAF is a fiberglass and plastic composite LPG cylinder that weighs just 5kg when empty, half as light as the steel cylinders in the market today,” said Mr. Mohammed Turki Al Sobai, WOQOD’s Vice Chairman and Managing Director. “This is the very latest technology in LPG cylinder design. There are significant safety and handling advantages with this new technology including proven capabilities such as the fact that this cylinder will not explode in a fire.”
SHAFAF will be available in 12kg and 5kg refill sizes, the smaller size designed for domestic kitchens and for portability for use outdoors such as at picnics. The initial price for the 12kg cylinder will be QR350 and the 5kg QR275. The LPG refill price remains QR15 for the 12kg cylinder and QR7 for the 5kg cylinder.
Initially SHAFAF will be available in all WOQOD service stations with a home delivery service to be introduced early in 2010. Both the plant inauguration and the launch of SHAFAF are major milestones for WOQOD.
“LPG in Qatar today is manufactured at Qatar Petroleum’s refinery in Mesaieed and up to now was provided through a small LPG filling plant in Mesaieed. Recognizing the market growth in demand for LPG with the majority of this demand in the Doha area. WOQOD has built this new LPG plant with the help of expertise from Qatar Petroleum,” said Mr. Al Sobai.
In 2009 market demand in Qatar will be just under 90,000 metric tons. 12kg cylinders account for 45,000 metric tons or about 3.75 million cylinders filled a year. Sales growth is estimated to be 18% per year for bulk LPG, as WOQOD phases out the heavy 100 pound or 48 kilo cylinder, with 7% growth for 12kg cylinders. By 2014, market demand for 12kg cylinders is expected to rise to around 63,000 metric tons. This is about 5.25 million cylinders filled a year.
WOQOD’s new LPG filling plant occupies 310,130 square meters in the New Industrial Area of Doha. The plant is supplied by a 29.6km pipeline linking Qatar Petroleum’s refinery to the filling plant. The pipeline is 6 inches in diameter and has a design flow rate of 70 cubic meters per hour. This pipeline removes significant road traffic from Mesaieed as LPG can now be distributed from Doha and there is no need for the large road trailers that carried the LPG cylinders from Mesaieed to Doha, saving 24 trips a day. This has a positive environmental impact by reducing road congestion.
LPG is received by pipeline from the QP refinery in Mesaieed and flows to a bulk storage unit from where it passes to the cylinder filling plant or to road tanker loading gantries. The plant has allocated space for future expansion and can serve Qatar for at least the next 20 years.
LPG is stored in three 400 metric-ton (MT) tubular tanks and sent pressurized to the filling plant, from where they are diverted to loading gantries for LPG distribution by road tankers.
There are two automated filling lines for 12 kg LPG cylinders. Each filling line can fill 1,200 cylinders an hour. The new WOQOD LPG plant’s production capacity on an annual basis exceeds 7 million 12kg cylinders on a two-shift basis. With Qatar’s annual demand of 5.25 million cylinders by 2014, and an annual growth rate that has never exceeded 8%, the new LPG filling lines are capable of providing market demand for at least the next 10 years. Space adjacent to the filling lines is available for further expansion as the market grows and develops.
The plant’s four LPG loading gantries have a simultaneous loading rate of 80 cubic meters an hour. Qatar’s inland demand for bulk LPG is currently 35,000MT a year, giving the loading facility the ability to supply the market for at least another 10 years. As with the filling plant, there is space available for future expansion.
WOQOD has a fleet of 14 dedicated LPG road tankers ranging in size from 15MT and 9MT capacity for large commercial customers, to 4MT small bobtails for deliveries to large villas and restaurants.
LPG is a growing source of low-emissions energy that is easy to transport and easy to use. It is a suitable alternative to diesel and gasoline, with the advantage of having lower particle pollutants and gaseous emissions, and consequently a much cleaner flame. LPG is often used as a cleaner alternative fuel for road transportation replacing gasoline and diesel.
In Qatar LPG has traditionally been used for domestic and industrial cooking and water heating. In hotels and restaurants chefs prefer to use LPG as opposed to electricity due to the controllability of the flame giving instant heat when needed.
Industrial uses are many and include bakeries, ceramic and brick factories and asphalt manufacturing.
To improve safety and add convenience to customers of the 12kg cylinders, WOQOD also improved the safety of gas cylinders by converting the F-type valve to compact valves in all 12kg cylinders in the market. A total of 460 000 valves were converted during 2009.
A clip-on regulator (complying to Gulf standard GSO 586/1995) was introduced to eliminate gas leaks which can be frequently experienced with the old regulators. WOQOD has also introduced low pressure regulators for domestic uses, such as for stoves, and variable pressure regulators for industrial applications.
Also through 2009 WOQOD has gradually removed the large 100 pound or 48 kg LPG cylinder from the market and has encouraged the replacement of these by bulk LPG tanks directly supplied by WOQOD. To ensure the safe installation of these tanks and to provide customers with a range of options, WOQOD has certified five LPG installation contractors and will shortly also be offering a LPG bulk tank installation service to its customers.
These bulk LPG tanks will be filled by WOQOD directly through its fleet of LPG road tankers. Options for LPG bulk tank installation include LPG leak detection systems and ensuring the correct pressure of LPG is applied to each individual appliance.
Working closely with Mowasalat, WOQOD has built a LPG fueling station at Mowasalat’s premises near the industrial area. Some 50 road taxis today run on LPG, as part of the government’s progressive drive to reduce emissions from its public service vehicles. WOQOD hopes to announce with Mowasalat an extension of this service to more taxis soon. In addition, LPG fueling will be made available at selected WOQOD service stations through 2010.