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Pearl GTL – a gem of a project, so long as it works

Construction is ramping up on the Qatar Petroleum and Shell-sponsored Pearl GTL venture in Qatar, one of the largest energy projects by value in the Middle East. Many will be surprised at how much money the project will make –if the technology works as planned. The project's managing director, Andy Brown, gives insights into the project's economics, contracting and execution strategy, and technology risk. Interview by Alex Forbes

Q Since Shell took the final investment decision (FID) to proceed with Pearl in 2006, there has been much speculation on the project's economics. At the time of FID, people calculated from figures Shell had published that the required investment would be $12bn-18bn, compared with $4bn-5bn when the project was proposed. You said at the beginning of 2007 that $10bn had been committed in contracts that had been awarded. What can you say now about costs? A Our guidance hasn't changed. We will produce around 3bn barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of wellhead gas over the period of our development and production-sharing agreement (DPSA). Development costs of the project are between $4 and $6 a barre

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