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Shell pushes back completion date of $8 billion Qatargas 4 Project

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dutch oil supermajor Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDSB) updated the market on its progress in Qatar, where  it is developing the Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4 projects in cooperation with state owned Qatar Petroleum, which operates all oil and gas activities in the country. While Pearl GTL was progressing in line with expectations, the US$ 8 billion Qatargas 4 project has been delayed by 10 months with startup now planned for late 2010.

The company has now entered into the testing phase at Pearl GTL, having inaugurated the plant’s control room that comprises about 1,000 control cabinets hosting 179 servers programmed with 12 million lines of software code.

Testing will begin on the equipment that has already been installed at the plant with the rest of it still being under construction.

The construction schedule and budget were in line with expectations, the company said in the statement. Major construction at both Pearl and Qatargas 4 is scheduled to conclude by the end of 2010, with production ramp up from late 2010 into 2011. These deadlines represent a 10 month delay from Qatargas’ previously planned startup date.

Pearl is expected to reach 320,000 boe/d, while Qatargas 4 is expected to reach 280,000 boe/d.

Pearl GTL will use Shell’s proprietary Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technology to convert some 1.6 bfc/d (billion cubic feet per day) of gas into clean burning oil products like gasoil, high specification lubricants base oils and chemicals feedstock, which are normally produced by oil refineries. The project is designed to produce 120,000 bbld (barrels per day) of natural gas liquids (NGLs) and ethane, and 140,000 bbld of GTL products.

All of the development costs of Pearl GTL are being covered by Shell.

The Qatargas 4 project is designed to convert 1.4 bcf/d of natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and NGLs, adding to Shell’s current LNG capacity of 18.5 million tonnes per year (mtpa). The project is expected to have a capacity of 7.8 mtpa of LNG and 70,000 boe/d (barrels of oil equivalent per day) of NGLs.

Shell has a 30% stake in Qatargas 4 with Qatar Petroleum holding the remaining stake in the project.

“I am very pleased with the progress that we are making with Pearl GTL and Qatargas 4…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,” said Chief Executive of Shell Peter Vosier.

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