The HoA sets out the fiscal terms for the project, which will be executed under a development and production sharing agreement (DPSA) such as the one signed by Qatar Shell GTL, a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, for a similar project six days earlier (see below). The DPSA will run for 25 years from the start-up of production, scheduled for 2011. ExxonMobil will contribute 100 per cent of capital costs and is due to drill an appraisal well by the end of 2004 to supplement completed preliminary front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies.

The plant will deploy ExxonMobil’s proprietary AGC 21 GTL technology. The plant’s products will consist of about 50 per cent low-sulphur diesel and 20 per cent lube base stocks, with naphtha and associated products making up the remainder. ExxonMobil has extensive interests in Qatar and is a shareholder in the upstream Al-Khaleej development (AKD) project in the North field, phase 1 of which is under way. In June, a statement of intent was signed with QP to conduct a feasibility study into a worldscale ethane-based derivatives complex at Ras Laffan. ExxonMobil is also a shareholder in the state’s two liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies (MEED 2:7:04).

As well as the Shell venture, QP is also undertaking GTL projects with the US’ ConocoPhillips, South Africa’s Sasoland a joint venture of Sasol and the US’ ChevronTexaco Corporation.