The Port of Ras Laffan is located on Qatar’s northeastern shores off the Arabian Gulf. It is about 70 kilometers north-northeast of the Port of Doha in Ad Dawhah, the country’s capital. The Port of Ras Laffan is an industrial city with little residential community.
Qatar Petroleum owns and operates the Port of Ras Laffan. Qatar Petroleum’s mission is to get the maximum benefits for Qatar from its petroleum resources by constantly increasing their contributions to the State’s economy while also protecting the environment. Qatar petroleum operates the country’s oil pipeline network that moves oil from the fields to the country’s sole refinery and to export terminals.
Qatar has three main export terminals in Ras Laffan, Umm Said, and Halul Island. The country exports about 600 thousand barrels per day (95 thousand cubic meters per day) of crude oil and about 20 thousand barrels per day of refined petroleum products. Most of the exports are sent to Asia, and Japan receives the over half of that volume.
The Port of Ras Laffan is a deep-water port that can handle the largest ocean-going vessels, and it operates the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas export facility, covering an area of 850 hectares. The main exports leaving the Port of Ras Laffan include liquefied natural gas, condensate, and sulfur. As commercial traffic grows, the port will be expanded. Long-term studies are underway to assess the need for enhanced facilities at the Port of Ras Laffan.
The Port of Ras Laffan is protected by the main breakwater to the north that is six kilometers long and a second breakwater to the south that is five kilometers long. A 400-meter entrance brings vessels to a 5.5 kilometer long approach channel dredged to 15 meters. Pilotage is required for all vessels traveling to the Port of Ras Laffan except where the Master deems pilotage unnecessary.
The Port of Ras Laffan offers several berths for commercial and industrial use. Three berths for liquefied natural gas carriers have capacity to handle 135 thousand cubic meters of product. Accommodating vessels to 345 meters in length, two berths are provided for loading condensate, napthenic caustic, and liquefied petroleum gas. A 420-meter long berth for exploration and production supply vessels can serve ships to 70 meters long with a draft up to 4.7 meters. The heavy-lift roll-on/roll-off / lift-on/lift-off berth is 150 meters long and can accommodate vessels to 21 thousand DWT.
The Port of Ras Laffan has two dry cargo berths, each 300 meters long with capacity for 60 thousand DWT vessels. The Port of Ras Laffan’s tug berth is 270 meters long. Finally, the Port of Ras Laffan offers seven service berths for offshore support vessels with maximum draft of 6.5 meters. The port is equipped with cranes with capacity to lift 130 tons, a bulk sulfur loader that can handle one thousand tons per hour, forklifts, and trailers.
Anticipating dramatic increases in cargo volume, the Port of Ras Laffan is planning to expand over the coming 20 years to become a world-class facility. Plans include new liquefied natural gas berths, a liquid cargo berth, dry docks, and repair yards. Additional dredging will be done, land will be reclaimed, and breakwaters will be constructed.