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QATAR - Energy & Mining

Richard Tallant

Executive Vice President, GTL & Managing Director, Shell Qatar


Richard Tallant is Executive Vice President of GTL for Shell and Managing Director of
Shell Qatar Companies, responsible for Shell’s global gas-to-liquids (GTL) portfolio. He has a bachelor’s degree in both petroleum engineering and economics from the University of Tulsa in the US. He joined Shell in the US in 2003 as a reservoir engineer, holding a variety of technical roles across the full lifecycle of Deepwater assets. In 2007, Tallant moved to the Netherlands to work in the portfolio and reporting team, subsequently becoming the Deepwater Planning Focal Point. Following that, he became Operations Manager of the Ram Powell Tension Leg Platform and was appointed as the GM East Assets GoM. Tallant became Vice President Production, GoM, Deepwater in 2018.

"Shell is delighted to have been selected to participate in both of QatarEnergy’s LNG expansion projects."
Shell is demonstrating its commitment to sustainability via its efforts on sustainable aviation fuel as well as using technology and innovation to improve asset operations, reliability, and safety.
Shell was recently named as a partner in QatarEnergy’s North Field Expansion project – which is the largest LNG expansion project the world has ever seen. How will Shell contribute to the project?

Shell is delighted to have been selected to participate in both of QatarEnergy’s LNG expansion projects – North Field East and North Field South. It was a proud moment for us, as the project is the largest ever new-build LNG capacity addition globally. The project also fits within Shell’s net-zero aspirations as it will feature carbon capture and storage and solar technology, producing some of the lowest carbon LNG in the world. We are facing enormous challenges around energy security and energy affordability, and, as such, the importance of gas has become more evident. We need to ensure that we deliver the volumes to the customers that they need on a continuous basis. The North Field Expansion will be a critical source of cost effective and reliable gas for markets around the world, including Europe and Asia. Supporting NFE will greatly contribute to Shell’s already strong LNG portfolio, expanding our global position as a leader in producing, supplying and trading this vital energy source. We will leverage our technical expertise to help deliver this exciting project and our LNG marketing expertise to bring value to QatarEnergy, Shell and the State of Qatar. A huge task awaits us, and we must work together to deliver our commitments, however, we are fully committed to making the project a success, supporting the State of Qatar and QatarEnergy’s ambitions.

In May 2023, Shell and Qatar Airways singed a sustainable aviation fuel deal. How does Shell showcase its commitment to sustainability through this and other initiatives?

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is an alternative fuel to fossil-based jet that can help to significantly reduce emissions from flying. It can be made from renewable and waste-based sources such as used cooking oil, municipal and agricultural waste. Shell and Qatar Airways have a history of collaboration, and we were pleased to announce a deal early in 2023 for Qatar Airways to source 3,000 metric tonnes of neat SAF at Amsterdam Schiphol airport. The deal includes Qatar Airways’ existing jet fuel contract with Shell at Schiphol, which will now see Qatar Airways using at least a 5 per cent SAF blend over the contract period for the fiscal year 2023-2024. SAF is a key for decarbonising aviation. But it is essential that we work in partnership across the industry to scale its supply and use. Shell’s aviation division works across all parts of the value chain to support the industry on the pathway to net zero. And we are taking action to supply SAF safely and securely to customers, to invest in SAF production and help develop more technologies to produce SAF, as well as working to ensure all elements of supply chain – form sustainable feedstock to blending facilities—are in place.

How is Shell leveraging technology and innovation to enhance its operations and services in Qatar?

Shell is a technology-driven organisation, with a long history of innovation in the energy industry. We have a global network of research and technology centres, with hundreds of scientists continuously working to develop new technologies and products to support our operations. And in Qatar, we have a thriving R&D centre, known as the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre—or QSRTC for short. QSRTC’s work focuses on the development and implementation of technologies that support Qatar’s National Vision 2030, as well as supporting Qatar’s role as the world’s largest LNG exporter and the GTL capital of the world. At the moment, QSRTC works on a range of projects supported by the Qatar National Research Fund, for example, the use of biosludge to enhance non-agricultural land; CO2 utilisation; green hydrogen; and asset integrity – specifically on preventing equipment corrosion. Overall, QSRTC is active in 45 projects with academic institutions in Qatar and employs the support of over 100 researchers. On top of that, Shell is also advancing the application of digital technologies in the energy industry. We are a strong believer that digitalisation can unlock significant improvements in asset operations, reliability, and safety. Shell has a wealth of data gathered from our operations, which we can turn into information to enhance the way we operate. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can be used for early intervention to reduce the risk of equipment failure or injury. Predictive maintenance, for example, uses AI to anticipate when equipment needs to be fixed or replaced by analysing patterns from equipment use and failure data. This then in turn alerts engineering and maintenance teams about potential issues, allowing for advanced planning. It can essentially give insights into potential equipment failure long before an issue arises. There is a wealth of opportunity to come with applying these types of technologies to our industry, and we’ve been growing our capabilities rapidly in this domain.

What are some of the challenges and opportunities that you anticipate in the Qatar energy market in the coming years?

Qatar continues to be at the forefront of energy development and the world-leader in LNG production. The North Field Expansion will see Qatar’s LNG production increase from its current levels of 77 mtpa to a massive 126 mtpa. This brings a range of opportunities in opening new markets, especially in Europe with countries severing ties with Russian after its invasion of Ukraine. One challenge that Qatar could face is to find long-term buyers for such large volumes of LNG, especially with European countries looking to transition to more renewable energy sources and reluctant to sign multi-decade LNG deals. However, we have seen Qatar secure long-term LNG supply deals throughout 2023, with countries seeing the need to balance the energy transition with energy security and stability, which became more evident with the Russia-Ukraine war.

What are Shell Qatar’s upcoming projects and initiatives in the next few years?

Shell is committed first and foremost to continue our operational performance in Qatar through QatarEnergy LNG joint ventures, and Pearl GTL. Pearl GTL is the largest gas-to-liquids facility in the world, and we are proud to say that we have been operating the asset to exceptional high levels of operational and safety performance in recent years. Shell is also looking to strengthen our international partnerships with QatarEnergy. Currently we partner with QatarEnergy in several global locations, including Brazil, Africa, Egypt and Namibia. Of course with the North Field Expansion, we will continue to support QatarEnergy with our technical knowledge and capabilities. This is a huge priority for the State of Qatar, and we committed to supporting whenever and wherever we can. Shell also supports Qatar’s National Vision 2030 through several CSR initiatives, such as NXplorers, Tafawoq and the Shell Eco-marathon. Our NXplorers programme is an initiative that equips students with the critical thinking, creativity and complex problem-solving skills and tools they need to create a more sustainable world. The programme in Qatar is implemented under a strategic partnership between Qatar Shell, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, and Qatar Scientific Club, and is designed to support the country’s human and sustainable development ambitions. We also recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of our Tafawoq programme, which is our project management training programme implemented with our partners QatarEnergy and Hamad Bin Khalifa University. Since its inception, TAFAWOQ has played a pivotal role in upskilling professionals in Qatar and the region with essential project management knowledge, driving excellence in project delivery and contributing to a sustainable future. The Shell Eco-marathon is a global academic programme which tests student teams to design and manufacture energy-efficient vehicles that can travel the farthest with the least amount of fuel, which they then compete on racetracks around the world. At the Asia-Pacific & Middle East regional championship in Indonesia this year, an all-female team from Qatar University built an electric car and a team from Texas A&M built a combustion-engine car running on diesel. We will continue to support the teams and are looking to grow the initiative in Qatar.



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