September 24, 2012 / 12:35 PM / 6 years ago

Qatar's Pearl GTL to hit full capacity in days

ABU DHABI, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Pearl GTL, Qatar’s $19 billion gas-to-liquid fuels project, is set to reach full production within days after completing maintenance work on its two main production lines, the company’s technology manager said on Monday.

“It is more a matter of days than weeks. It is difficult to say because you can always have a bit of a setback but now we’re almost through,” Rob Overtoom of Qatar Shell GTL Ltd said on the sidelines of a conference in Abu Dhabi.

He would not say exactly what capacity the project was currently operating at but said that output was already high.

Overtoom said Shell’s planned 100-day maintenance at Pearl was almost over and that it would soon ramp up production.

The project has been a drain on Royal Dutch Shell’s capital since 2003 with a development cost that overran to $18-$19 billion from the original $5 billion and a mid-2012 target for full production.

Pearl, the world’s largest GTL plant, strips methane from the world’s biggest non-associated gas field and combines it with oxygen to produce diesel, natural gas liquids and ethane.

Shell has said the project would generate $4 billion of free cash flow a year once running at full production in a market with crude oil, the main determinant of the price of diesel, at $70 a barrel.

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