Sasol claims Qatar gas project on schedule despite delays

08 September 2008
South Africa's Sasol says the “majority of teething problems” have been resolved at its Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) venture in Qatar, although production remains at just two-thirds of its 34,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) capacity.

As part of its results announcement on 8 September, Sasol said the plant produced 22,000 b/d in June, with its GTL diesel product “commanding premiums” in the market over crude-derived diesel products.

“With the majority of teething problems behind us, the ramp-up of the Oryx GTL plant in Qatar met our expectations during the year,” says Sasol.

The project, a 51:49 joint venture of Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Sasol, has suffered several delays since its inauguration in June 2006 (MEED 9:6:06).

In 2007, the company said it incurred technical problems related to the build-up of fine material produced in the GTL process, constraining the plant's overall output.

The UK/Dutch Shell Group's 140,000-b/d Pearl GTL project in Qatar is under construction and scheduled to begin operations by early 2010. US oil major ExxonMobil Corporation pulled out of a major GTL project with QP in early 2007 because of spiralling costs (MEED 23:2:07).

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