His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, The Emir of Qatar today officially inaugurated the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) Project, the largest GTL plant in the world and the largest energy project in the state of Qatar. Visiting dignitaries including HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, toured the facility and were briefed on the state-of-the-art technologies used to convert natural gas resources from Qatar’s North Field into high quality liquid fuels and products that will be sold at premium all over the world.
Pearl GTL has been jointly developed by Qatar Petroleum and Shell creating an additional route for Qatar to generate value from its enormous supply of gas. Using innovative technology and engineering, Pearl GTL turns natural gas into high quality liquid fuels and products, thereby realizing the full upside of accessing the oil markets.
CEO of Shell Peter Voser said: “Pearl GTL is a tribute to the remarkable partnership between Qatar Petroleum and Shell. The inauguration of Pearl GTL represents an historic milestone for Shell, and for our industry as a whole. It marks the culmination of five years of project delivery, and over 35 years of Gas to Liquids technology development at Shell. We are proud of what has been accomplished and privileged to have contributed to Pearl GTL’s success with our innovation, technology and project delivery capabilities. Shell would like to extend its deepest appreciation to the people of Qatar for the enormous support we have received during the development and execution of the Pearl GTL project. We look forward to continuing our partnership through the operations phase, delivering high quality fuels and products right across the world for decades to come.”
Pearl GTL is a fully integrated upstream/downstream, world-scale project located in Ras Laffan Industrial City, 80 km north of Doha. It captures the full value chain from offshore development through onshore gas processing to refining of finished products and the distribution of these products right across the world in one project. When fully operational, Pearl GTL will have the capacity to produce 140,000 barrels a day of high quality GTL products (gasoil, naphtha, kerosene, normal-paraffin and lubricants base oils), thereby help meet the increasing global demand for high quality hydrocarbon. It will also produce 120,000 barrels a day of Natural Gas Liquids (liquefied petroleum gas and condensate) and ethane.
The project is being developed in two trains and major construction was completed at the end of 2010. The first train started up in Q1 2011 and the first commercial shipment of gasoil was exported in June 2011. The second train of the plant started up in November 2011 by bringing in sour gas from offshore wells. The gas processing plant has come quickly on line delivering on-spec gas, condensate, LPG and sulphur. The first of the four world scale Air Separation Units in Train 2 is also on-line producing on-spec oxygen.
Building Shell’s biggest engineering project to date in Ras Laffan, a vast industrial zone on Qatar’s coast some 90 kilometres north of Doha, was a major feat. At the peak of construction, it involved more than 52,000 workers from over 60 nations, a project which took 500 million hours to design and build.
Despite the massive number of workers involved and the complexity of Pearl’s construction, a strong safety culture helped Qatar and Shell achieve a record-breaking 77 million hours worked onshore without injuries leading to time off work.
The pure gas, or methane, that remains will then flow to the GTL section of the plant, where it will be converted in a three-stage process into a range of gas-to-liquids products using Shell proprietary technology.
Finally, the liquid hydrocarbon wax is upgraded using specially developed technology involving new catalysts into the range of products. It takes some 2,000 steps to prepare all GTL systems for production.
In Qatar, summer temperatures exceed 40°C (104°F) and rainfall is slight. Conserving water is critical. Pearl was designed to be self-sufficient in its use of water.
Pearl, the largest investment by Shell in any single project, is a fully integrated project spanning production from an offshore gas field to finished marketable products. Shell is funding 100% of the development costs under a profit- sharing agreement with the state of Qatar.