Shell's $8bn Qatargas 4 JV delayed by 10 months

Huge Qatari gas processing facility will start operations in late 2010

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The Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has said that the US$8 billion Qatargas 4 joint venture with Qatar Petroleum is to be delayed by around 10 months.

In a statement the company said that Qatargas 4 would now come on-stream around the same time as its other enormous gas joint venture in Qatar – Pearl GTL.

"We had been planning for a startup in early 2010 but now we expect that to come in late 2010," a spokeswoman is quoted by Reuters as saying.

The delays are believed to be due to contractors in Qatar being unable to keep pace with the Gulf state’s massive gas processing expansion plans.

Qatargas 4 is designed to convert some 1.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas into liquefied natural gas (LNG) and natural gas liquids (NGLs). The statement added that Qatargas 4 will add to Shell’s current worldwide LNG capacity of 18.5 million tonnes per year (mtpa).

Qatargas 4 will have a capacity of 7.8 mtpa of LNG and some 70,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) of NGLs.

Shell has a 30% stake in Qatargas 4, with partner Qatar Petroleum, under a tax-and-royalty structure. Clean-burning LNG will be sold to customers in China, Dubai and the United States, with further new markets currently being developed.

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