In July 2006 the first stone was laid for constructing the largest Gas To Liquids (GTL) plant in the world, the Pearl GTL Complex in Ras Laffan, Qatar. After completing Shell's first GTL plant in Bintulu, Malaysia in 1993 with a debottlenecked capacity of 14 kbbl/d, the Pearl GTL plant is a major leap forward in size, innovation and integration. Pearl GTL is designed to produce 140 kbbl/d of finished GTL products and some 120 kbbl/d of natural gas liquids, including field condensate and ethane. Raw feed gas is routed from 2 identical offshore Platforms in the Qatar North Field via 2 parallel 30" subsea pipelines to the onshore GTL manufacturing complex.

The reliable, efficient and well integrated Feed Gas Preparation plant is a key enabler to the overall success of the Pearl GTL complex. Feed Gas Preparation includes offshore platforms, inlet receiving facilities, integrated gas treating units and NGL extraction/fractionation unit.

The design of the Feed Gas Preparation complex is based on Shell's years of experience in designing, building, licensing and operating many Gas Processing & LNG plants. Due to the highly integrated design, implementation of significant technology innovations was executed only after thorough analysis and issuing of formal development releases.

The Pearl GTL plant came into operation on 23rd March 2011. Stable production of sweet Natural Gas, Sulphur, Propane, Butane and Condensate at 40% design capacity was achieved within 10 days. The plant is meeting its design capacity and product quality, and complies with stringent environmental specifications. The innovative design approach used has resulted in a stable, reliable operation and has contributed to the sustainable development of the project.

This paper describes in detail the configuration of the Feed Gas Preparation plant in Pearl GTL and highlights the key features in the design, construction, commissioning and start-up experiences.

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