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.