Shell’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology converts natural gas into high-quality liquid products that would otherwise be made from crude oil. In Qatar the Pearl GTL plant produces water in a place where it is extremely scarce.
“The water that Pearl GTL produces makes it possible to run the plant without drawing on Qatar’s scarce natural fresh water resources,” says Pearl GTL’s Technology Manager Pauline Buitink.
The project’s industrial water processing plant is the world’s largest for the recovery, treatment and reuse of industrial process water. With a capacity to treat 280,000 barrels of water a day, Pearl GTL’s water treatment plant is comparable to one that serves a city of 140,000 people.
After the industrial water is cleaned by removing trace metals, hydrocarbons and any particles, most of it is used for cooling by evaporation and for steam systems. Some of the water is used for bushes, shrubs and trees at the plant.
A R&D laboratory at the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre focuses on research and development into water use. For example, it is working on a pilot programme to test whether constructed wetlands can remove chemicals from water generated as a by-product of oil and gas production.