Pearl GTL has built its reputation and credibility as a predictable, safe, and reliable asset that contributes significant economic value to Qatar and Shell, says Andrew Faulkner, managing director and country chairman of Qatar Shell.
“We have just celebrated 10 years of production and are looking forward to the future,” Faulkner said in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.
Qatar Shell operates Pearl GTL, the world’s largest gas-to-liquids plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City.
According to Faulkner, the project “represents the crown jewel of our partnership with Qatar Petroleum (QP).”
Pearl GTL produces up to 120,000 barrels of natural gas liquids and ethane per day, and has the capacity to go up to 140,000 barrels of Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) products per day.
It is impressive in many ways: the capability and diversity of the people working to make it happen, its sheer size and complexity, and its innovative technology. The technology turns natural gas into high-quality liquid fuels, base oils for lubricants, and other liquid products usually made from oil.
Providing an overview of Shell’s activities in Qatar’s energy sector, Faulkner the outgoing country chairman and managing director said, “We also collaborate with Qatar Petroleum (QP) here in Qatar in other areas including the LNG joint venture QatarGas 4, a Drilling Services Agreement (DSA) for appraisal well services, a services contract for shipping and maritime with Nakilat, in addition to having around 25 of our staff seconded into either QP or Qatargas (QG). We also operate a world-class research and development facility, Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre (QSRTC), embedded in Education City.
“All in all, Qatar Shell Currently employs over 1,500 staff, of which nearly 27% are Qatari. Our people are our most important asset. Their know-how and commitment are what make all of the above possible.
“In addition to this, Shell and QP maintain a strong strategic partnership internationally. We have existing operational joint ventures in Brazil and Singapore, as well as a joint venture to provide LNG marine fueling, bunkering vessels, and other infrastructure. We are also partners in upstream exploration licenses in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Namibia. I expect that the footprint of this partnership will continue to grow over the coming years.”
He said Qatar Shell contributes to the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the country’s long-term sustainability and self-sufficiency through extensive corporate social responsibility initiatives and sponsorships.
"Indeed, our social investment and sponsored activities are an integral and vital part of our business. They are aimed at the whole of Qatari society, and tackle diverse issues relating to education, sports, health, research, the economy, culture, and the environment."
About his experience as Qatar Shell chairman and managing director, Faulkner said, “It has been a privilege and honour to live here for the past four and a half years, and be part of Qatar’s growth journey, both as an individual and as the Managing Director at Qatar Shell. I have spent almost 39 years in the industry and have seen multiple parts of the world, but the experiences here in Qatar have been truly unique. I couldn’t have wished for a better place to end my career.
“Just after I arrived the blockade occurred. It was inspiring to see how the country responded to that event. I will never forget how the people came together on the streets, their support for the country’s leadership, their pride and resilience, and how Qatar has come out stronger in so many ways."
He said, “A moment when it all came together for me was when the Qatar national football team won the AFC Asian Cup. I was one of the lucky ones – representing Shell as a sponsor of Qatar Football Association (QFA) – to be invited to the old airport to witness the team’s arrival and participate in the ‘welcome home’ celebrations. The mix of passion, emotion, and pride is indescribable.”
Faulkner noted he was especially proud of the strength and growing scope of Shell’s relationship with QP, not just in the joint venture areas here and internationally, but in the development of Qatari talent, of secondee sharing, of thought leadership discussions around areas such as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) management, and of local business development.
“Of course, my personal highlight was in April 2019, when Misfer al-Bidaiwi became the vice president of Pearl GTL – putting him in charge of one of Shell’s most significant assets anywhere in the world. He is a true role model for all our Qatari staff.
“The journey does not stop there. We continue to provide our national talent with opportunities to experience a dynamic environment, where they work alongside local and international professionals to enhance their capabilities and shape business performance.
“All part of demonstrating our continued commitment to supporting the State of Qatar in its journey towards Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).”