Gastech: Pearl GTL receives first gas

Warren R. True
Chief Technology Editor-LNG/Gas Processing

AMSTERDAM, Mar. 23 -- Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced the first flow of dedicated offshore natural gas to the Pearl gas-to-liquids plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City north of Doha.

Full start-up of the plant later this year will expand an exclusive list: There are only three other operating GTL plants in the world: South Africa (160,000 b/cd Sasol, 22,500 b/cd PetroSA); Qatar (34,000 b/cd Sasol-Qatar Petroleum Oryx), and Malaysia (Bintulu, Shell Malaysia, 14,700 b/d).

Operator of Pearl, which has been developed under a production-sharing agreement with QP, Shell opened offshore gas wells to flow through twinned 60-km, 30-in. sour-gas subsea pipelines into the plant. Sections of the plant will be started up progressively over the coming months, said the announcement.

Launched in July 2006 for a total of about $19 billion, the entire Pearl GTL project is the largest energy project in terms of investment ever launched in Qatar, said Shell. It includes two offshore platforms in North field.

Once fully operating, Pearl will produce 1.6 bcfd, which will generate 120,000 b/d of condensate and NGLs and 140,000 b/d of products, such as gas oil, high-specification lubricant base oils, and chemical feedstock.

The gas-separation process at the plant removes metals and sulfur, turning the sulfur into pellets and shipping it to the nearest market to make hydrosulfuric acid, fertilizer, or other products, according to other information released by Shell.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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