March 20, 2007

Qatar Airways Looks At Alternative Fuels

Natural Gas-Derived Fuel May Power Airliners. Bahrain's Gulf Daily News reports Qatar Airways plans to fuel its aircraft with natural gas.

The company's chief executive, Akbar Al Baker, said the state-owned airline is talking to oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and engine manufacturers about using a form of diesel made from natural gas, known as GTL, or Gas-to-Liquids fuel, in its planes.

"We are talking to Shell and as soon as the engine manufacturers have certified their engines to be used with GTL, Qatar Airways will be the first airline to fuel its airplanes with GTL," Al Baker stated. "I was told they would get certification by the end of the year."

Qatar has the world's third-largest gas reserves, and is keen to develop the use of GTL. ExxonMobil decided last month to abandon a multi-billion dollar GTL project in Qatar because of rising costs.

Qatar Petroleum and South Africa's Sasol are set to launch production of GTL at their plant in Qatar, with first sales expected later this month.


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