The projects:

SASOL: The South African firm's joint venture with state-owned Qatar Petroleum will be the first plant to come on line, producing 34,000 barrels a day by next year.

A US$6 billion expansion already is planned, with Sasol forming a GTL joint-venture with ChevronTexaco Corp. Then, the plant would be producing 100,000 barrels a day by decade's end.

ROYAL DUTCH/SHELL GROUP: Shell's US$6 billion Pearl GTL plant will house 24 GTL reactors churning out 70,000 barrels per day by 2009 and 140,000 a few years later.

EXXON MOBIL CORP.: Exxon Mobil's US$7 billion GTL project, described by the company as the largest investment ever by America's largest company, will produce 155,000 barrels per day by 2011.