Qatar is a peninsula, 11437 sq. km in area, that projects from the Arabian mainland. Umm Said on the east coast of the peninsula. Lying in the path of strong prevailing south-easterly winds, the peninsulas owes many of its features to wind erosion, in addition to significant fluctuations in the level of the sea-bed. The latter is responsible for the fact that Qatar is now separated from Bahrain and from the small islands that surround the peninsula.
Umm Sa'id [also called Musay'id] was established in 1949 as a tanker terminal by the Qatar Petroleum Company on an inhospitable, previously uninhabited site, along the sabkhah (salt flat) terrain characteristic of the coast. Umm Sa'id, the only deepwater port in Qatar for more than 20 years, handled not only the export of oil but the import of basic construction and industrial equipment, as well as consumer goods. These imports, financed by petroleum revenues, were used in the conversion of the country from the economic level of subsistence to that of a modern industrial and commercial state. The opening of the deepwater port at the capital city of Doha in the early 1970s lessened dependence on Umm Sa'id as a general port. Modern industrial development there includes a plant producing ammonia and nitrogen fertilizers and a fully automated flour mill.
Umm Said (Messaideed) is twenty miles (45km) south of Doha, the capital, and is the site of Qatar's original downstream industries. Umm Said is the heart of Qatar's industry. It has both a commercial port and an oil-exporting port. There are refineries in Umm Said as well as other industrial establishments producing steel, natural gas liquids, fertilisers and petrochemicals. Qatar's National Oil Distribution Company (NODCO) has upgraded its refinery at Umm Said. The upgrade increased capacity from 57,500 bbl/d to 83,000 bbl/d. A 30,000 bbl/d condensate refining unit also was built on the same site.
Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC) Management was established in 1996 as a Single Point Authority to provide “One Stop” services to all businesses in Mesaieed. One of MIC’s roles is to provide Port and Marine facilities to all businesses such that facilities are utilized to their maximum capacity.
NATIONAL OIL DISTRIBUTION COMPANY (NODCO) was established in 1968 and is wholly owned by QP. This company operates an oil refinery in Messaieed (Umm Said), and distributes its products both locally and as exports. The company produces butagas, super gasoline, lead-free premium gasoline, kerosene and fuel oil.
QATAR FERTILIZERS COMPANY (QAFCO) 1969 saw the establishment of the Qatar Fertilizers Company (QAFCO), which was the first major industrial project to be developed in Messaieed (Umm Said).
QATAR PETROCHEMICAL COMPANY (QAPCO) Qapco (Qatar Petrochemical Company), founded in 1974, produces ethylene, low-density polyethelene, sulphur and other petrochemical products from the ethane-rich gas produced at the NGL-1 plant.
QATAR VINYL COMPANY (QVC) The joint venture agreement establishing this new company was signed in January, 1997 between QP, QAPCO, Norsk Hydro and Elf Atochem. The company constructed a new $500 million petrochemical plant to utilise ethylene produced by QAPCO for the production of ethylene dichloride, vinyl chloride monomer and caustic soda in 2000.
QATAR FUEL ADDITIVES COMPANY (QAFAC) was established in 1990. Shareholders include QP, the Chinese Petroleum Company - CPC, Lee Chang Yung Chemical Industry Corporation and International Octane Ltd. The company produces methanol and MTBE (an octane baster) in new plants in Messaieed (Umm Said). The Government is additionally committed to promote another Methanol/MTBE project viz. The Qatar Clean Energy Company (QACENCO) and is currently discussing joint venture prospects with various international companies.
NEW PETROCHEMICAL COMPLEX In May 1997, QP also signed a joint venture agreement with the Philips Petroleum Company to promote a petrochemical complex to produce 500,000 tons/year of Ethylene, 250,000 tons/year of Low Density Polyethylene and 250,000 tons/year of Linear Low Density Polyethylene. Construction begin in 1999 and the total project value is likely to exceed US$ 700 million. QP will hold a 51% interest in the project, while Conoco-Phillips Petroleum will hold the remaining 49%.
Qatar Petroleum (QP) was established in 1974 as a national corporation completely owned by the State of Qatar.