The Pearl GTL (gas-to-liquids) was the largest industrial project ever executed in Qatar at the time of its commissioning in June 2011 and the biggest investment undertaken by UK/Dutch Shell Group. The project cost about $19bn and was executed and financed by Shell under a development and production-sharing agreement signed with Qatar Petroleum (QP) in 2004.

The Pearl GTL takes 1.6 billion cubic feet a day of gas from Qatar’s North Field and converts it into 120,000 barrels a day (b/d) of natural gas liquids and 140,000 b/d of GTL products, including naphtha, N-paraffin, kerosene, gas oil and base oil. Its integrated operating cost is low, at about $6 a barrel of upstream production. Before the collapse in oil prices, Shell calculated that the facility’s net annual income was more than $8.6bn.

During its busiest period of construction, 52,000 workers were employed on the project and some 2 million freight tonnes of materials were imported. The biggest individual contracts on the development included South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation’s $1.8bn deal for feed gas preparation, the $1.48bn liquid processing unit awarded to Japan’s Toyo Engineering Corporation and Hyundai E&C, and the $1bn deal for the core plant, utilities, flare and infrastructure awarded to the US’ KBR and Japan’s JGC Corporation.