Qatar inaugurates Pearl GTL control room

Uchenna Izundu
OGJ International Editor

LONDON, Oct. 12 -- Qatar Energy Minister Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah inaugurated the central control room at the massive 140,000 b/d Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Qatar.

The move signifies that commissioning of the project—which will produce liquid transport fuels and 120,000 boe/d of natural gas liquids and ethane—is imminent. This project is expected to position Qatar as the GTL capital of the world.

The central control room is a large hushed chamber, with four main banks of high-powered computers. It comprises almost 1,000 control cabinets hosting 179 servers that are programmed with 12 million lines of software code. The system is linked to every part of the plant by about 5,850 km of underground cables.

“While testing begins on the many thousands of pieces of equipment that have already been installed in the plant, construction continues and is expected to be complete around the end of 2010. Production ramp-up will then take around 12 months,” said Pearl partner Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Shell is buiding the plant in partnership with Qatar Petroleum. Peter Voser, Shell chief executive officer, hosted a senior Qatari delegation that also included Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada, minister of state for energy and industry affairs, Qatar Petroleum directors, and members of the Pearl GTL management committee.

Voser said, “Over 48,000 people are working on the Pearl GTL site—the largest single construction site in the oil and gas industry today. Much work remains to be done but we are on schedule to deliver.”

The plant will process about 3 billion boe over its lifetime from the North field, which stretches from Qatar’s coast out into the Gulf.

Contact Uchenna Izundu at uchennai@pennwell.com.

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