His Excellency Abdulla bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of Energy and Industry of the State of Qatar, launched the testing phase of the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) project by inaugurating the massive plant’s central control room.
HE Minister Al-Attiyah was accompanied by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Saleh Al-Sada Minister of State for Energy & Industry Affairs, Qatar Petroleum Directors and members of the Pearl GTL Management Committee. The delegation was hosted by Peter Voser, Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell plc.
Pearl GTL is being developed by Qatar Petroleum and Shell.
Testing, known as ‘commissioning’ to engineers, is the process of systematically checking every piece of equipment in the plant is functioning correctly. This work will be carried out by operators who moved into the control room today, as well as the contractors who have been constructing the project.
While testing begins on the many thousands of pieces of equipment that have already been installed in the plant, construction continues and is expected to be complete around the end of 2010. Production ramp-up will then take around 12 months.
HE Minister Al-Attiyah said today: “I am pleased by the progress on Pearl GTL, a huge project that will cement Qatar’s place as the GTL capital of the world. Opening the control room is an important moment, which heralds a new phase of the project.”
Mr Voser added: “Over 48,000 people are working on the Pearl GTL site, the largest single construction site in the oil and gas industry today. Much work remains to be done but we are on schedule to deliver. I am honoured that His Excellency Minister Al-Attiyah joined us to celebrate this important milestone that marks the beginning of equipment testing at Pearl GTL.”
The central control room is a large hushed chamber, with high-powered computers in four main banks. It is the nerve centre of one of the largest and most sophisticated process control systems in the oil and gas industry, comprising almost 1,000 control cabinets hosting 179 servers which are programmed with 12 million lines of software code. The system is linked to every part of the plant by about 5,850 kilometres of underground cables, which would stretch from Doha to London if laid end-to-end.