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Shell becomes biggest investor in Qatar – executive


Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:37am EST

* Shell Qatar investments at $21 bln, surpasses Exxon

* First output from Pearl GTL plant expected early 2011

* Shell to get free gas from Qatar for Pearl, so costs low

By Simon Webb

DOHA, Jan 26 (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) $21 billion investment in energy projects in Qatar would make it the largest private investor in the country, surpassing rival ExxonMobil (XOM.N), a senior company executive said on Tuesday.

Shell expected to complete construction by the end of 2010 on the world’s largest energy project, a $19 billion plant to produce superclean fuels from gas, said Gerrit-Jan Smitskamp, the company’s regional vice-president for finance.

The plant would cost up to $19 billion. That investment, in addition to the $2 billion it is spending on building a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant in the country that would also be completed this year, would make Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell Qatar’s largest private investor, he said.

The Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant is divided into two production lines, or trains. The first would be completed by the end of 2010 and the second in early 2011, Smitskamp said at a MEED projects conference.

“With the first train, we will start commissioning by the end of the year, moving to first production by 2011,” he said.

The LNG production facility, also known as a train, was also due for completion by the end of the year, he said.

Qatargas train 7, with capacity to produce 7.8 million tonnes per year of gas, would be the last of new LNG trains in Qatar’s current expansion plan. It would take capacity in the world’s largest LNG exporter to 77 million tpy.

Shell has a 30 percent stake in the plant, with the rest belonging to state oil firm Qatar Petroleum.


Despite the huge investment, the 140,000 barrels per day GTL project would still be profitable, Smitskamp said.

“We took the final investment decision (FID) when the oil price was around $40, and we envisaged the project would run there so at $70 to $80 its probably the same,” he said.

The plant’s margins would also benefit from free gas, Smitskamp said. Free feedstock was part of the original agreement with Qatar to build the plant, he added.

“Unlike a crude oil refinery that has to pay for crude oil as a feedstock, gas is free for us. So we only have operating costs.”

The Pearl project is employing around 50,000 people, who have poured twice as much concrete as that used to build the world’s tallest building, the recently-opened Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Smitskamp said.

Most of the fuel produced at Pearl would be sold into Shell’s global supply system, rather than contracted out to individual buyers on a long-term basis, he said.

Some of the jet fuel produced may go to Qatar Petroleum, while some gas oil may be mixed with Shell’s current blend, he said.

Following are the refined fuel products that will be produced at Shell GTL’s plant in Qatar.

Shell GTL total capacity – 140,000 bpd oil products

Product streams: – 35,000 bpd naphtha and paraffin

– 25,000 bpd kerosene

– 50,000 bpd gas oil

– 30,000 bpd base oil.
Non-oil product output from the GTL project being marketed by

– 30,000 boepd ethane

– 30,000 bpd LPG

– 60,000 bpd condensates

(Writing by Luke Pachymuthu and Simon Webb; Editing by Sue Thomas)

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