Shell’s $18.5bn, 140,000 b/d, Pearl GTL plant in Qatar ramped up in 2Q13 to almost full output – a year behind schedule. Shell’s CEO, Peter Voser, said in a 2Q13 investors’ conference call in August: “On Pearl, I think, we are progressing well, but I think we are ramping up. It was a good second quarter and from that point of view, I think we are satisfied that we are working ourselves up to the capacity rates.” Pearl’s extra output in 2Q13 boosted Shell’s oil and gas production volumes – Mr Voser said it made a “strong contribution” to growth. The plant sold its first product shipment in June 2011.

South Africa’s petrochemical producer Sasol has also boosted output and plans a further increase at its 32,400 b/d Oryx project, Qatar’s other GTL plant – QP (51%) and Sasol (49%). It may have finally reached full stable output: “Most of the problems of reliability have been resolved to some extent,” an industry source tells MEES. But the debottlenecking – from tuning various parts, such as pumps – to boost capacity 10% by 2014 may slip back to early 2015, he said. The expansion will give a production capacity of 24,000 b/d of gasoil, 9,000 b/d of naphtha and 1,000 b/d of LPG. Sasol, which uses different GTL technology from Shell, originally aimed to reach full output in 2006, but hit design problems. (CONTINUED - 1376 WORDS)