Qatar: US$950 million Oryx GTL plant inaugurated
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar on Tuesday, officially inaugurated the US$950 million Oryx GTL plant at Ras Laffan Industrial City. The ceremony was attended by dignitaries and guests from Qatar and abroad. Oryx GTL is a joint venture between state-owned Qatar Petroleum (51%) and South African-based petrochemical company Sasol Ltd (49%). The facility is the pacesetter of the petroleum industry's focus to create a global gas-to-liquids (GTL) industry that is geared to unlock the world's vast natural gas resources for conversion into ultra-low emission diesel and other environmentally benign energy products.
Construction of Oryx GTL commenced in December 2003 at Ras Laffan Industrial City, north of the capital Doha.
Oryx GTL will be using around 330 million cubic feet per day of “lean” gas from Qatar's North Gas Field in the Gulf as feedstock to produce a planned 34 000 barrels per day (b/d) of liquids. This will comprise 24 000 b/d of diesel, 9000 b/d of naphtha and 1000 b/d of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Oryx GTL will be the first of a kind for the conversion of natural gas to liquid fuel. It uses the proprietary, low temperature Sasol Slurry Phase Distillate (Sasol SPD) process that is based on Fischer-Tropsch technology.
Qatar's North Field is regarded as the largest single non-associated gas reservoir in the world with total proven reserves of 900 trillion standard cubic feet (tscf) (25.5 trillion cubic metres).
“Oryx GTL is the foundation of Qatar's desire to be pre-eminent in the establishment of a global GTL industry. This is another outstanding achievement realised under the wise leadership of His Highness, the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani who set the strategy for the optimum utilization of Qatar's national reserves. The project is important for Qatar in terms of monetising its gas reserves whilst diversifying its product range,” said Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, and chairman of Qatar Petroleum.
“It is destined to become iconic in years to come as our plans to turn Qatar into the GTL capital of the world unfolds. Today's celebration is the culmination of the joint efforts of Qatar Petroleum and our technology partner Sasol to start delivering environmentally advanced fuels to help meet burgeoning international energy needs,” Al-Attiyah added.
Sasol has experience in the production and marketing of synthetic fuels. Its advanced Fischer-Tropsch technology enables the conversion of natural gas into easily transportable and marketable liquid fuels that go a long way in answering public concerns about environmental and air quality issues.
“Oryx GTL is a vital cog in our strategy to create a substantial GTL business in the next decade, along with a number of international business partners. Decades of continuous research and development, as well as proven design and operating experience in this field, have set us apart as leaders in the commercialisation of GTL. We are confident that Sasol will play an important role in the energy mix of the future,” said Sasol CE Patrick Davies.
“We salute our equity partner Qatar Petroleum, and especially His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, for their courage, unwavering support and confidence in Sasol and our GTL technology. Qatar has vast natural gas reserves and our technology will assist the country in monetising these resources efficiently. Besides employment opportunities and skills transfers, Sasol's value proposition may also enable the development of other petroleum complexes in the region. By helping us nurture what we have developed in South Africa, Qatar is well on its way to becoming the GTL capital of the world,” added Davies.
Qatar is regarded as the best GTL location in the world. Besides its vast natural gas resources, it has great political stability, healthy investment environment, efficient infrastructure development, and access to global markets through a modern harbour.
Alternative fuels, such as GTL, offer the world new fuel energy sources, strong environmental benefits, a reduction in petroleum dependence, and diversity of supply sources. The GTL product slate includes diesel, jet fuel, petrochemical naphtha, base oils and waxes.
Sasol Chevron – the London-based joint venture between Sasol and Chevron Corporation of the USA – will market the GTL diesel initially in Europe and then elsewhere in the world. Further planned expansions of Oryx GTL will be done in conjunction with Sasol Chevron. This includes increasing the capacity of the Oryx GTL to about 100 000 b/d and exploring building an integrated GTL plant with a capacity of about 130 000 b/d in future.