Royal Dutch Shell expects oil product output at its joint venture gas-to-liquids project in Qatar to start in weeks, bringing online the world's biggest facility built at a cost of about US$18-19 bln, as per Reuters. Natural gas will account for half of Shell's output this year as more companies tap this resource to meet rising energy demand as oil becomes more difficult and expensive to produce.
Pearl, a joint development by Qatar Petroleum and Shell, will process about 3 billion barrels-of-oil-equivalent over its lifetime from the huge North Field stretching from the Qatari coast into the Gulf. The plant will produce 140,000 bpd of oil products such as diesel, kerosene, lubricant oils, naphtha and paraffin. The Pearl GTL plant should come on line by the end of the year and reach full capacity in Q1-2012. The field stretches from Qatar’s coast and contains more than 900 trillion cubic feet of gas, equivalent to 150 billion barrels of oil, or over 10% of worldwide gas resources. The gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant has capacity of 260,000 bpd oil equivalent, and is expected to ship its first product in 2011 and reach full production in 2012.