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 a half-year update to investors, Sasol says the plant produced 22,000 b/d for the first half, which was a 30 per cent jump on the previous six-month period.

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

Sasol says additional downstream filtration equipment to fix the issue will be installed in September rather than the initial mid-2008 target, allowing production to increase further.

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 due to spiralling costs (MEED 23:2:07).