Shell clinches deal to build GTL plant in Egypt
Shell International Gas Ltd. Thursday cemented a development protocol deal with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) to build a 75,000 b/d gas-to-liquids conversion plant with at least one liquefied natural gas train to covert Egyptian gas production into 'ultra clean' synthetic fuels using Shell's middle distillate synthesis process.
LONDON�Shell International Gas Ltd. Thursday cemented a development protocol deal with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. (EGPC) to build a 75,000 b/d gas-to-liquids conversion plant with at least one liquefied natural gas train to covert Egyptian gas production into "ultra clean" synthetic fuels using Shell's middle distillate synthesis (SMDS) process.
The $1.7 billion project, given the go-ahead by Egypt's petroleum ministry, would lead to the construction of a combined site for LNG and SMDS. Current thinking sees West Demiatta on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt as the frontrunning location for such a facility.
Shell said the plant would be developed by a joint venture with EGPC and could be moved into commercial operation by mid-2004 for the LNG train, and late-2005 for SMDS. LNG exports will be targeted at Southern Mediterranean countries.
"This project is one of several highly strategic projects to Egypt," said Eng. Fahmi, Egypt's minister of Petroleum Affairs. "The government will provide the necessary support to make it a successful project."
Shell already has built up operational experience with SMDS through its 12,000 b/d facility in Bintulu, Malaysia (OGJ Online, Oct. 5, 2000).
SMDS is a three-stage process, developed at Bintulu, that transforms natural gas into "ultra clean" middle distillates products naphtha, gasoil, and kerosine. The process has "proved to be an attractive alternative to LNG and we are actively seeking opportunities around the world for more second-generation SMDS facilities," said Vice-Pres. SMDS Global Development Jack Jacometti when Shell first announced the initialing of the protocol deal with Egypt last month.
Shell said the synthetic fuels produced by the new plant "will help satisfy the growing local demand of oil products and fuels" in Egypt, a country that presently imports oil products. The oil and gas giant believes Egypt�s increasing gas reserves can meet the local market demand for these products for more than 50 years, and that GTL "offers the possibility of utilizing this abundant natural resource to meet the urgent needs of the country and contribute to sustainable development in Egypt."