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Pearl GTL offshore structure begins journey to Qatar from Dubai

The first of two platform structures has left a J Ray McDermott fabrication yard in Dubai bound for the waters off Qatar where it will produce natural gas for the Pearl Gas to Liquids project.

The Pearl 1 topside structure has a lift weight of 1,840 tonnes, as much as 800 Toyota Landcruisers, and is the size of a 10-storey office building. It is being transported to Qatari waters by barge. Once there, the structure will be lifted on top of a platform jacket, or legs, which is already fixed to the sea-bed over the North Field in a water depth of about 36 metres.
The Pearl 1 topside was skidded on to the barge using mechanical winches which pulled the topside onto the barge deck in a half-day operation. The topside was then securely fastened to the barge to ensure stability during sea towing operations.
The topside has five decks of production, control and testing equipment, including 90 kilometres of control and power cables within the structure. This facility will be connected to 11 wells drilled into the natural gas reservoir deep below the sea bed. In normal operation Pearl 1 will be unmanned, with crew visiting by boat for maintenance. All processing of the natural gas will be conducted onshore.
The Pearl 1 topside has been built over 20 months by J Ray McDermott at its yard in Jebel Ali. Some 4,000 workers were involved in the engineering, construction and commissioning. There were no lost time injuries in over three million man-hours of work.
Pearl GTL is being developed by Qatar Petroleum and Shell and includes the construction of the largest Gas to Liquids plant in the world at Ras Laffan Industrial City.  Major construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2010 with production ramp-up in 2011.
Andy Brown, Shell’s Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Pearl GTL project, said today: “The J Ray McDermott team are to be congratulated for completing the construction of the Pearl 1 topside safely and efficiently. I am glad that the Pearl 1 topside is now on its way to Qatar, where it will serve for decades producing natural gas.”
The second topside structure, Pearl 2, is nearing completion in Dubai and will be transported to Qatar in the coming months. The two platforms will be connected to shore by two 30 inch pipelines which were installed last year.
Pearl GTL is the largest energy project ever launched in the State of Qatar. It will produce liquid fuels, lubricants and chemical feedstocks from natural gas, opening new markets for Qatar’s natural resources. It will also produce significant quantities of natural gas liquids and ethane.