Oman’s gas talks with Shell and Total link exploration to downstream developments. Shell has signed up for a gas-to-liquids scheme, but the numbers suggest a renaissance for the technology won’t be easy.

Anglo-Dutch major Shell’s ongoing gas negotiations with Oman’s Ministry of Oil & Gas (MOG) are aimed at developing the Gulf’s third gas-to-liquids (GTL) project, a surprising prospect given that the cost of Shell’s Pearl GTL plant in Qatar trebled...