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Tue 21 Oct 2008 02:28 AM

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World's largest gas-to-liquids plant by end 2010

Shell's Qatar boss sees long-term benefits in Pearl GTL, despite cost overruns.

Pearl GTL, the world’s largest gas-to-liquids (GTL) project, located at Ras Laffan in Qatar, is 50 percent complete and will start production on time at the end of 2010, Qatar daily the Gulf Times reported on Tuesday."We are on schedule for start-up by 2010 end," Andrew Brown, Qatar country chairman of project partner Shell told the paper.

Pearl GTL is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Royal Dutch Shell and represents Shell's single biggest equity investment anywhere in the world. Estimates for the total cost of the project vary between $12billion and $18 billion, up from an original $5 billion.

It will produce about 140,000 barrels per day of GTL products as well as 120,000 bpd of condensate, LPG and ethane from two trains which gas from Qatar's vast offshore North Field.

Brown said some 35,000 people are now working at the Ras Laffan site, which covers 1.5 square km. Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah , Qatar's deputy premier and minister of energy and industry, earlier told the paper that the first train at Pearl GTL project would start in 2010, followed by the second train a year later. 

Commenting on the project as a whole, Brown said: "The large-scale project entails a huge investment. But since we will be producing in large quantities, the costs will be lower and hence the project will be a commercial success. We are now educating people worldwide about the benefits of pro-environment gas-to-liquids technology."

The ceremonial laying of the project's foundation stone in February 2007 was attended by heir to the British throne, Prince Charles.

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