Qatar Opens New Gas-To-Liquids Plant

Will put Qatar in the forefront of countries producing LNG.

The Qatari gas company RasGas announced March 20 the opening of a new gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant which has an annual production capacity of 4.7 million tons. "RasGas (Train) 5 project... will put Qatar at the forefront of countries producing liquefied natural gas," RasGas managing director Mohammad Saleh al-Sada said at the opening ceremony.

He said the total cost of the project was around $1.7 billion. It is located in Ras Laffan Industrial City, 50 miles north of the capital Doha.

"As this project starts operation, the GTL production of RasGas and Qatar Petroleum will increase to 30.7 million tons," per year, he said.

Rasgas was established in 1993. State-run Qatar Petroleum owns a 63% stake, with Exxonmobil, Japan's Itochu Corp. Nissho Iwai Corp. and a consortium of South Korean companies, Kogas, holding the balance.

In January, Qatar announced that production has begun at its first GTL plant -- also at Ras Laffan. The one-billion-dollar project was a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and South African company Sasol.

Qatar, which has the world's third-largest gas reserves and is pushing to become the biggest LNG exporter, aspires to have a total annual production capacity of 77 million tons in 2010. The Gulf state's giant North Field has proven reserves of more than 900 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, amounting to more than 15% of proven global reserves.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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