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Qatar is building one of the world’s largest sulphur processing plants in its industrial zone, Ras Laffan, to treat sulphur from the giant North Field. Once in operation it will be able to receive 12,000 tonnes of sulphur per day, enough to fill end-to-end cargo trains stretching two kilometres.

Sulphur will be extracted in liquid form from natural gas that flows into multiple gas plants in Ras Laffan. The sulphur plant will convert it into solid granules for temporary storage and shipping to markets around the world. 

Sulphur is mainly used to make sulphuric acid, one of the most important chemicals in industrial processes. It is widely used in the fertiliser industry, the rubber industry, and for making steel and pharmaceuticals.

New and improved uses for sulphur

Sulphur bricks in attractive colors

One of the most promising uses for sulphur comes from a Shell-patented technology that adds a mix of elemental sulphur and sulphate to fertilisers. Shell Thiogro technology makes sulphur — a vital nutrient for many crops — more readily available to plants throughout the growing season. The benefits of more effective sulphur use in fertiliser could be significant: tests on crops by Shell and the Sulphur Institute in the USA showed it can increase yields by 14% on average in sulphur deficient soils.

Sulphur is also widely used in the construction industry. For example, adding sulphur pellets to asphalt helps make road surfaces more durable and resistant to extreme high and low temperatures.

Shell Thiopave — also patented by Shell — mainly consists of sulphur and replaces up to 30% of the bitumen used in making a road. It can be made at lower temperatures than conventional asphalt, offering an environmental benefit.

The Qatari Public Works Authority and Shell have been testing sulphur asphalt since July 2010 on a 150-metre strip of the Umm Bab highway, which sees heavy traffic by trucks, in the first trial on a public road in Qatar.

Qatar is building one of the world’s largest sulphur processing plants in its industrial zone, Ras Laffan, to treat sulphur from the giant North Field. Once in operation it will be able to receive 12,000 tonnes of sulphur per day, enough to fill end-to-end cargo trains stretching two kilometres.

Sulphur will be extracted in liquid form from natural gas that flows into multiple gas plants in Ras Laffan. The sulphur plant will convert it into solid granules for temporary storage and shipping to markets around the world.

Sulphur is mainly used to make sulphuric acid, one of the most important chemicals in industrial processes. It is widely used in the fertiliser industry, the rubber industry, and for making steel and pharmaceuticals.

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Preparing for production at the world's largest plant to convert natural gas into clean-burning liquid transport fuel and other high-value products.