His Highness Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the Heir Apparent, laid the Foundation Stone for the Middle East's first gas-to-liquids plant. The ceremony, held at the Project's site in Ras Laffan Industrial City, was attended by dignitaries, visitors and guests from Qatar and abroad.
Receiving the full support of His highness The Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the $900 million ORYX GTL project is a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum (51%) and Sasol of South Africa (49%).
The Ras Laffan based-complex will receive its feedstock from Qatar's North Gas field, the world's largest single non-associated gas field with proven reserves exceeding 900 trillion cubic feet.
When operational in December 2005, the project will be the biggest and most technically advanced gas-to-liquids plant in the world. The project will use approximately 330 million cubic feet per day of lean methane rich gas from Qatar's North Gas Field as feedstock to produce 34,000 barrels per day of liquids (24,000 b/d of diesel, 9,000 b/d of naphtha and 1,000 b/d of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
"This is another outstanding achievement realized under the wise leadership and guidance of His Highness, the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani who set the strategy for the optimum utilization of Qatar's national reserves," His Excellency Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Qatar's Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Energy and Industry, and Chairman ORYX-GTL said.
"We have worked hard in partnership with Sasol to lay the commercial foundation of a new industry. The project will spearhead Qatar's aspirations to be the launching pad for the next generation of GTL facilities and realize Qatar's objective to become the GTL capital of the world," His Excellency added.
"ORYX GTL will be the world's first truly commercial GTL venture outside South Africa. In laying the foundation stone for the ORYX GTL plant at Ras Laffan in the State of Qatar, we are not just laying the foundation stone for a single plant, but for a whole new global industry – the GTL industry," said Sasol Chief Executive Mr. Pieter Cox.
Mr. Cox expressed his confidence that this venture will also set the performance and safety standards that will become a global benchmark as the GTL industry grows.
The facilities' Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) package was prepared by Foster Wheeler of the United Kingdom.
The commercial close for the project was finalized in December 2002. Lead arrangers on the deal include Abbey National Treasury Services, Arab Banking Corporation, Apicorp (joint regional bookrunner); Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BOTM), BNP Paribas (documentation and facility agent); Credit Lyonnais, Credit Agricole Indosuez (international bookrunner); Gulf International Bank (joint regional bookrunner); HSBC Investment Bank (security trustee); Hypo Vereinsbank; KBC Ireland (Pre-financial close technical); Mizuho Financial Group (Pre-financial close insurance); Qatar National Bank, RBS and Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation.
The Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract (EPC) was awarded to Technip-Coflexip of Italy on January 30, 2003.The EPC contract includes responsibility for the start-up and initial operation of the plant up to the performance test phase. The construction phase is expected to be completed by end of 2005.
The GTL technology was first developed in the 1920s by Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch. The process involves the conversion of natural gas into synthetic crude oil and other hydrocarbon products.