Shell plans March maintenance shutdown at Pearl GTL plant in Qatar

Shell's company logo is pictured at a gas station in Zurich April 8, 2015. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

DOHA (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L plans a major maintenance shutdown at its Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Qatar around March next year, a company executive said on Sunday.

A turnaround maintenance in March will halt output from one facility, Train 2, and that could take around one or two months to complete, Rob Sherwin, Deputy Country Chairman for Shell Qatar said.

“Pearl GTL is two identical, parallel trains, we had Train 1 down for maintenance earlier this year. That will happen again in 2016 for Train 2, it will be the same timing, it will be March-time,” he told Reuters in Doha on the sidelines of an energy conference.

“The whole train will come down. We’ll be down to one train producing for the duration of the turnaround. This year’s maintenance took somewhere between one and two months, so it’s a decent chunk of time.”

Pearl GTL comprises two identical GTL ‘trains’, with a total capacity of 140,000 barrels per day of GTL products plus 120,000 barrels per day of natural gas liquids and ethane, according to Shell’s website.

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

Reporting by Tom Finn; Writing by Rania El Gamal. Editing by Jane Merriman