The sale marks the start of production of GTL products when the State of Qatar and Shell, the operator of the Pearl GTL plant, begin to receive revenue from the project. Over the coming months, production will ramp up from the first production unit (‘train’) of the Pearl GTL project. The second train is expected to start up before the end of 2011. The plant is expected to reach full production capacity by the middle of 2012 and is the largest energy project ever launched in the State of Qatar.
His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar's Minister of Energy and Industry said: "The Pearl GTL project will play an important role in further enhancing our diversification of the North Field gas utilisation and will support the optimisation of Qatar’s competitive position in the world markets by supplying high quality GTL products. I wish the Qatar Petroleum and Shell teams all the success in bringing this project into full production safely and successfully."
Peter Voser, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell said: “Today’s milestone provides further evidence that innovative technology and strong partnerships can help meet the world’s growing need for energy. I would like to thank Qatar Petroleum and the State of Qatar for their support throughout, to make such a substantial project possible.”
Once fully operational, Pearl GTL is expected to produce 1.6 billion cubic feet of gas per day from the North Field, which will be processed to deliver an expected 120,000 barrels per day of condensate, LPG and ethane and an expected 140,000 barrels per day of gas-to-liquids (GTL) products using Shell’s unique technological and project management capabilities.
Shell is the operator of the Pearl GTL plant developed under a Development and Production Sharing Agreement with the Government of the State of Qatar. The Pearl GTL project was launched in July 2006 and the first stone was laid in February 2007 by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Heir Apparent.
At the peak of construction at Pearl GTL, the project employed 52,000 workers. By the end of 2010, major construction was complete. On 23 March 2011, gas began flowing from wells 60 kilometres offshore. Then the gas processing plant began producing condensate, LPG and sulphur and four of the world’s largest air separation units began producing oxygen. The GTL plant, which employs Shell proprietary technology, was brought into production in May and converts the gas and oxygen to GTL wax. In the last step of the process, the waxes are cracked and distilled into finished GTL products.
Pearl GTL is expected to produce a number of high-quality GTL products for sale in oil product markets around the world: GTL Kerosene for blending into a clean burning aviation fuel; GTL Gasoil, a clean-burning diesel-type automotive fuel; GTL Base Oils for premium lubricants; GTL Normal Paraffin for detergents; and GTL Naphtha, a high-paraffin feedstock for the petrochemical industry.
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