Honeywell upgrades automation for petrochemical expansion in Qatar

Honeywell Process Solutions announced Wednesday that it will supply a new integrated control and safety system for Qatar Fuel Additives Company’s (QAFAC) plant in Mesaieed Industrial City, located 50 kilometers south of Doha. 

The upgrade will help the plant reduce operating costs and improve efficiencies as it increases production of methanol and MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), a key gasoline additive that reduces tailpipe emissions.

Honeywell’s integrated control and safety solution, including a new fire and gas system, will improve automation at the plant, increase cyber security, and enhance operator effectiveness. QAFAC will also benefit from ongoing long-term services through Honeywell’s lifecycle support, according to company officials.

QAFAC, a joint venture between state-backed Industries Qatar, OPIC Middle East, LCY and IOL, plans to become one of the top five international producers of methanol and butane derivatives by 2020. It is also planning to commission an $80 million carbon dioxide recovery project this year to capture 500 tpd of CO2 for re-injection into the production cycle. 

When added to gasoline, MTBE enhances octane levels to reduce engine knocking. It also helps the gasoline burn more completely, which reduces tailpipe emissions and helps to meet Euro 5 standards. QAFAC produces MTBE using process technology licensed from Honeywell's UOP segment.

“This project will help us meet growing demand for methanol, MTBE and clean fuels efficiently, while achieving the highest levels of safety and environmental performance at our site,” said Nasser Al Kuwari, QAFAC general manager. 

The solution includes Honeywell’s Experion PKS distributed control system, Honeywell’s Safety Manager, and its XLS fire detection systems.

“Honeywell’s technology offers a truly integrated control and safety system that will improve operational effectiveness, as well as provide cost-saving features and applications for improved process performance,” said Mansour Al Belhadj, Middle East sales director for Honeywell Process Solutions.

Work under the multi-million dollar contract has already begun and is due for completion in 2014.

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