Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell) (NYSE: RDS.A) (NYSE: RDS.B) reconfirmed good progress of the Pearl GTL and the Qatargas 4 projects for a group of its shareholders and investment analysts.
Shell is partnering in both Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4 with Qatar Petroleum.
Pearl GTL will use Shell's proprietary Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technology to convert some 1.6 billion cubic feet (bcf/d) of gas per day into high quality, clean-burning oil products such as gasoil, high specification lubricants base oils, and chemicals feedstock. These products are usually produced by oil refineries. Shell will use its leading brand, technology, global supply chain and marketing capabilities to maximise the value of these products in global markets.
Pearl GTL is designed to produce 120,000 barrels per day (b/d) of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and ethane, and 140,000 b/d of GTL products. Pearl will be the world's largest GTL plant, building on over 30 years of Shell experience with these technologies. Shell is funding 100% of the development costs for Pearl GTL, under a profit sharing agreement with the State of Qatar.
Shell has now entered into the testing phase at Pearl GTL, having inaugurated the massive plant's control room, which is the nerve centre of one of the largest and most sophisticated process control systems in the oil and gas industry. The control room comprises of almost 1,000 control cabinets hosting 179 servers which are programmed with 12 million lines of software code. The system is linked to every part of the plant by about 5,850 kilometres of control cables, which would stretch from Doha to London if laid end-to-end.
While testing begins on many thousands of pieces of equipment that have already been installed at the plant, construction on the rest of the plant continues. Some 2 million tonnes of equipment and materials have been imported to the site and there are some 48,000 workers on the project. At the peak of construction, Pearl GTL installed enough steel and pipe to make 2.5 Eiffel Towers every month.
Qatargas 4 is designed to convert some 1.4 bcf/d of natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and NGLs. Qatargas 4 will add to Shell's current worldwide LNG capacity of 18.5 million tonnes per year (mtpa), and sustain Shell's industry leadership in LNG.
Qatargas 4 will have a capacity of 7.8 mtpa of LNG and some 70,000 boe/d of NGLs. Shell has a 30% stake in Qatargas 4, with partner Qatar Petroleum, under a tax-and-royalty structure. Clean-burning LNG will be sold to customers in China, Dubai and the United States, with further new markets currently being developed.
Pearl is a unique project in the global oil & gas industry, with unprecedented scale and technology. Construction is progressing well at Pearl, with both schedule and budget in line with Shell's expectations. Major construction at both Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4 is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010, with production ramp-up from late 2010 and into 2011. Pearl GTL upstream production is expected to reach 320,000 boe/d. Qatargas 4 is expected to reach 280,000 boe/d.
Shell's annual outlay on these two Qatar projects peaked in 2008. Once Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4 come on stream, Qatar has the potential to contribute some 350,000 boe/d of upstream production for Shell, and significant cash flows for the State of Qatar and the company.
HE Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry said: "Shell has only been back in Qatar a few years and over that time through the realization of Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4 projects they have established a significant position in Qatar's energy sector. We appreciate our partnership with Shell and we believe this relationship will be a source of long term prosperity and growth."
Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser commented: "I am very pleased with the progress that we are making with Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4. We have enjoyed tremendous support from our partner Qatar Petroleum and we are pleased to play our part to establish Qatar as the number one LNG and GTL producer in the world. On today's basis these two projects alone would represent over 10% of our world-wide production. Qatar underpins Shell's growth plans to 2012 and will be a heartland for decades to come."
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