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Guf Times (Qatar): N Field reservoir study to be completed by ’09

Published: Tuesday, 23 January, 2007, 10:17 AM Doha Time 
By Pratap John
 
DOHA: HE the Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah has said the ongoing reservoir study at Qatar’s gas rich North Field will be completed by 2009.

Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of an international GTL Conference at the Sheraton yesterday, al-Attiyah said any decision on new LNG or GTL projects would be taken only after Qatar Petroleum (QP) completes the reservoir study.

He however clarified none that of the energy projects cleared by Qatar had been, or would be, put on hold due to the reservoir study.

“We have not put on hold any project in view of the reservoir study. What we have said is that a decision on new LNG or GTL projects will be taken only after the reservoir study. The two are different,” al-Attiyah said and added that GTL project proposals from Marathon and some other global energy majors were under scrutiny.

Qatar’s North Field has proven gas resources exceeding 900tn cubic feet. This has been attested by seismic surveys done by QP and its affiliates earlier. At the current rate of production the reserves will last about 200 years.

But, he said, a detailed study was required to know where the North Field, discovered in 1971, stood in terms of reserves now.

“This will help us properly plan energy projects. While we tap our resources we also need to ensure it is done diligently.”

QP developed the first project (North Field Alpha) to utilise gas consumption in 1991 with a capacity of 800mn standard cubic feet a day. North Field is by far the largest single non-associated gas field in the world. Qatar has the world’s third largest gas reserve after Russia and Iran.

Earlier, opening the 6th Annual Gas-to-Liquids Technology & Commerciali-sation Conference al-Attiyah said Qatar was well on track to become “the GTL capital of the world.”

Currently, two GTL projects are being established in Qatar-Oryx GTL and Pearl GTL. Oryx is a joint venture between QP and Sasol while Pearl GTL is being established by QP and Shell. “With Oryx and Shell our GTL production will touch about 170,000 barrels per day. There is nothing comparable in scale and magnitude to our GTL projects.

“This is supported by a world class industrial city and port infrastructure in Ras Laffan which is linked to the North Field and its huge gas resources,” he said.

GTL technology, he said, offered a wide variety of products. The middle disti
llate fuels and base oils produced by GTL projects have been extremely popular in many markets.

“Because the market for middle distillate diesel is very large the synthetic fuel will simply compete with the refinery diesel cut in the event of the environmental value of the GTL’s product is not compensated.

“I believe the production of high quality and value base oils from the GTL process will make this commodity very marketable and give Qatar’s GTL companies a leading place in the world market of base oils,” al-Attiyah said.

In the years ahead, he said, the GTL fuels will play an important role in contributing towards a cleaner environment. As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, Qatar is making another contribution towards a cleaner environment by ensuring only the best technologies, from an environmental point of view, are employed in GTL production.

Qatar, he said, was also making major strides in honouring its commitments to the Kyoto Protocol through its progress in implementing the Clean Development Mechanism, a UN initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  “Among the Gulf states, our progress in this respect is exemplary,” al-Attiyah noted.

In Qatar, he said, the  country saw the GTL business as another way of developing and exploiting its huge gas resources. However, long before launching its GTL programme, QP had been active in generating high value products from natural gas by producing ammonia and methanol.

“Our other activities in developing gas projects for export and domestic use are well known, but notwithstanding our large natural gas reserves, development of these resources must be done on a sustainable basis, if we are to secure the needs of our future generations. “This consideration, among others, has been influencing our long-term plans for gas development,” al-Attiyah added.

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