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Costs, Uncertainty Nix Shell's Gulf Coast GTL Project

Royal Dutch Shell plc will not proceed with its proposed 140,000 b/d Gulf Coast gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Louisiana and will suspend work on the project, the company said Thursday.

Shell said it has evaluated a number of development options for GTL on the U.S. Gulf Coast, using natural gas feedstocks.

"Despite the ample supplies of natural gas in the area, the company has taken the decision that GTL is not a viable option for Shell in North America at this time due to the likely development cost of such a project, uncertainties on long-term oil and gas prices and differentials, and Shell's strict capital discipline," the company said.

Shell has built up "substantial new options" for integrated gas investment, particularly in Australia and North America in recent years.

"We are making tough choices here, focusing our efforts and capital on the most attractive opportunities in our world-wide portfolio, to add value for shareholders," said CEO Peter Voser.

In September Shell said it chose Ascension Parish as the location for the multi-billion-dollar facility (see Daily GPI,Sept. 26). According to the terms of an incentive agreement with the state, the company at a minimum would spend $12.5 billion and create 740 direct jobs if the plant were built. Shell had been offered a $112 million economic development incentive by Louisiana to develop the project.

Last December, Sasol announced a $16 billion to $21 billion GTL and ethane cracker complex that will be the largest manufacturing investment in Louisiana history (see Daily GPI, Dec. 4, 2012). In January, G2X Energy announced a $1.3 billion GTL facility at the Port of Lake Charles that will yield chiefly gasoline (see Daily GPI, Jan. 18). Last September, SGC Energia SA of Portugal and Houston-based Great Northern Project Development LP said they would spend $100 million to renovate a dormant steam methane reformer in the Westlake, LA, area and convert it to a GTL facility (see Daily GPI,Sept. 6).

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