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Gulf-Times (Qatar): Shell carries out 3D survey, drills wells for Pearl GTL

Published: Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 03:18 PM Doha Time
Business Reporter
DOHA: Qatar Shell has done a 3D seismic survey covering some 800sq km and drilled two appraisal wells in two offshore blocks allocated to it as part of the multi-billion dollar Pearl GTL project.

Pearl GTL is a joint venture between QP and Royal Dutch Shell and will be the world’s largest gas-to-liquids plant on completion in 2010-11.

The project is Shell’s single largest equity investment anywhere in the world and will produce 140,000 bpd of GTL products as well as 120,000 bpd of condensate, LPG and ethane.

The two adjacent blocks in the North Field were allocated to Qatar Shell in 2003 to produce gas to feed the project.

Qatar Shell upstream manager Bart Lismont said in the latest issue of Shell in the Middle East that the purpose of drilling the two appraisal wells was to collect sub-surface data and then evaluate the reservoir’s properties in terms of porosity, saturation, permeability and the gas water contact.

“All of these enable us to assess the volumes of gas in place in those two blocks as well as the potential level of productivity we can expect to achieve,” Lismont said.

Once up and running, the Pearl GTL plant would require 1.6bn standard cubic feet per day of gas.

“Expectedly, the results were excellent resulting in the go-ahead of the project. This includes the upstream field development plan. This ensured that when the plant would start up we would have the gas online and ready to be fed into the plant,” Lismont said.

The structural legs (jackets) that support Shell’s offshore facility in the North Field and the temporary decks that sit on the jackets (used in drilling) are now in place. They were built by J Ray McDermott at the company’s Jebel Ali Free Zone yard in Dubai.

“We have also contracted J Ray McDermott to design and construct the two remotely operated production facilities, or topsides, which will be used to produce the gas and deliver it to shore. The first steel for the construction of the Pearl 1 platform topsides will be cut in late 2007.

“Once the wells have all been drilled the temporary decks will be removed and the permanent production topsides will be installed,” Lismont said.

According to Lismont, Qatar Shell had planned a drilling campaign which would consist of 22 wells, 11 from each platform.
“We will drill more wells if we cannot achieve the necessary gas production level from the 22 wells for the lifecycle of the project,” he said.

In terms of the upstream, the “final pieces of the puzzle” will be the pipelines, Lismont pointed out. There will be one sub-sea pipeline from each platform to the shore, about 60km away, then a further 6km of onshore pipeline to bring gas to the Pearl GTL plant at Ras Laffan.

Lismont said, “Due to the very high prices on the global market for crude oil, there has been an unprecedented growth in the offshore drilling industry that has led to both a steep rise in prices and a shortage of drilling rigs. We were fortunate with the planning of this drilling campaign as we contracted the two drilling rigs in 2005 when the daily rates for a drilling rig were roughly half of what they are today.” and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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