UK-based Shell Gas International signed in February 2002 a statement of intent to build the integrated project, which calls for a GTL plant with capacity of about 120,000 barrels a day (b/d) to be built at Ras Laffan and be based on the Shell middle distillate synthesis (SMDS) technology. Construction is already under way at the northern industrial city on a 34,000-b/d GTL plant by Oryx GTL, a 51:49 joint venture of QP and South Africa’s Sasol (MEED 22:2:02).

Al-Attiya said that discussions were continuing with four other companies – ExxonMobil, Conoco and Marathon, all of the US, and the US/South Africa venture of Chevron Sasol – proposing to set up GTL capacity at Ras Laffan. ‘The GTL Committee [in QP] is working with all of them,’ he said. ‘For us, there is no queue or finish line. Which one goes first will be determined by the progress each makes.’ Al-Attiya added that all the prospective projects would be based on PSAs rather than the joint venture model, which was employed on Oryx GTL.

Al-Attiya reiterated that it was Qatar’s aim to become the GTL capital of the world. ‘People used to say that Qatar would never be in the LNG [liquefied natural gas] market. If I believed all the analysts, we would never do anything. Today we are a leader in LNG. It will be the same for GTL,’ he said.