Shell signs up for Qatar GTL project

22 February 2002

Qatar Petroleum (QP) signed on 20 February a statement of intent with UK-based Shell International Gasto study the development of a world-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant. Due to be completed by the end of June, the study will determine the size, cost and commercial structure for the integrated GTL project. The agreement is the third to have been signed by QP with a foreign partner for a GTL plant. The most advanced is a 34,000-barrel-a-day (b/d) facility planned by QP and South Africa's Sasol(MEED 8:2:02).

QP and Shell are looking at a plant with capacity of about 100,000 b/d. Unlike the Sasol scheme, the proposed project will include a dedicated upstream development in the North field. Once the study has been completed and approved, the project will enter the pre-front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase.

Shell has already announced GTL projects in Egypt and Iran. Officials say that the Qatar project will not have an impact on either scheme. 'We want to have a basket of GTL plants in the Middle East,' says an official. The company is a leader in the GTL business having operated since 1993 a 12,000-b/d commercial plant in Malaysia.

Besides the Sasol venture QP is carrying out a technical feasibility study with the US' ExxonMobil Corporationfor a GTL plant of about 100,000 b/d. Canada's Ivanhoe Energyhas also completed a feasibility study for a 185,000-b/d plant to be built in two stages. Two other US companies, Marathon Oil Companyand Conoco, are also proposing GTL plants.

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