Posted on July 31, 2012

British Ambassador, His Excellency Michael O’Neill, visited the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) project in Ras Laffan Industrial City. A joint development between Qatar Petroleum and Shell, Pearl GTL is the largest energy project in Qatar and, at $18 – 19 billion, is Shell’s largest investment in a single project.

Pearl GTL captures the full value chain from offshore development through onshore gas processing to refining of finished petroleum products. It consists of two unmanned offshore platforms 60 kilometres off the Qatar coast, connected by pipeline to the world’s most innovative GTL onshore plant ever built.

Wael Sawan, Qatar Shell’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Pearl GTL, received the Ambassador and the Embassy’s First Secretary for Climate Change James Godber, and explained some of the most innovative aspects of Pearl GTL, which uses Shell’s proprietary technologies to convert natural gas into high quality liquid hydrocarbon products.

Ambassador O’Neill said: “I am deeply impressed by the innovativeness and scale of Pearl GTL. The details of the technology, the sheer quantities of material used during construction and the safety performance of the project are fascinating. I am proud that British engineering contributed to the creation of this marvel – a great example of Qatar – UK cooperation in meeting future energy challenges today.”

Wael Sawan said: “We are proud to host Ambassador O’Neill at Pearl GTL and give him an insight into the progress achieved at the plant to date. Pearl GTL is a truly global project that clearly demonstrates the vision of the State of Qatar to generate value from its vast gas resources and contribute to a new energy future. Shell is proud to have been invited by Qatar to deploy its technology and project management capabilities to support this vision.”

Once in full production, Pearl GTL will convert 1.6 billion standard cubic feet per day of wellhead gas into 260,000 barrels per day of products, comprising 140,000 barrels per day of high quality GTL products and 120,000 barrels per day of condensate, LPG and ethane. Gas-to-liquids products are high quality, cleaner-burning oil products such as gasoil and high-specification lubricant base oils and chemicals feedstock.

Shell has up to 3,500 patents in all stages of the Pearl GTL process, based on almost four decades of research. This research continues, including at the Qatar Shell Research & Technology Centre at the Qatar Science & Technology Park. The first patent granted to any company for scientific work at the science park was to Shell for an invention related to the GTL process.

Construction of Pearl GTL involved the import of over 2,000,000 freight tonnes of material and equipment. Enough concrete has been used to build two Burj Khalifas, and at peak time enough steel was being erected each month to build two-and-a half Eiffel Towers. At peak construction over 50,000 people from 60 countries were involved in the construction of the giant onshore complex.