Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Huge Oil to Gas Price Spread Fueling New GTL Technologies

Update 20 Jan 12:Petrobras has qualified and approved CompactGTL’s modular gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology following trials at its CENPES Research and Development Centre....The proprietary mini-channel SMR and FT reactors, operating in conjunction with new catalysts coated on metal substrates (combustion, reforming and FT) demonstrate a compact, low centre of gravity GTL process for the first time.

“The [Petrobras] test programme has produced some extremely positive results and has shown the plant can be robust, with the operational availability expected of large scale commercial facilities,” said Nicholas Gay, chief executive of CompactGTL.

“We can now progress our plans in conjunction with clients throughout the world to develop commercial scale modular gas to liquid plants,” added Gay. __Engineer....

A big price spread between natural gas and crude oil suddenly makes stranded natural gas much too valuable to flare -- if you have an economic alternative. Such alternatives are rapidly springing up -- as in the Oxford Catalyst : Velocys microchannel technology, and the CompactGTL technology discussed here:

CompactGTL offers a modular GTL solution for a variety of natural gas to liquids conversion needs -- including the offshore environment.
The solution converts the associated gas into syncrude for blending with the natural crude, eliminating the need for additional transportation infrastructure and storage infrastructure or access to market for the converted product.

The technology features proprietary catalysts and reactor designs derived from plate and fin heat exchanger manufacturing techniques. Modular plant design, incorporating multiple reactors in parallel, provides a flexible, operable solution to accommodate gas feed variation and decline over the life of the oilfield.

At the heart of the process are two banks of modular reactor blocks. Using an advanced derivative of plate and fin heat exchanger technology, these reactors allow the precise control of heat and gas flow over our proprietary metal-supported structured catalysts, located in a regular array of thousands of closely-spaced channels.

The first reactor uses Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) to convert natural gas into syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The syngas is fed into the second reactor where it is converted via the Fischer-Tropsch process into synthetic crude oil, water and a ‘tail gas’ composed of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and light hydrocarbon gases.

The close relationship between the two reactors in the CompactGTL process is a vital element in the efficient management of the overall system. The two reactions are tuned to work together to maximise efficiency and minimise waste streams depending upon the specific application and location of the plant. The water produced in the Fischer-Tropsch reaction can be treated to remove impurities and recycled back into the steam reforming process.

CompactGTL’s proprietary reactor technology enables the design of a highly self-contained plant operating a stable process that does not require an oxygen supply. The process involves only small volumes of fluids, which proofs the system against wave motion in the offshore environment. _CompactGTL
The huge price spread between equivalent energies of natural gas and crude oil is causing a growing interest in various GTL technologies -- as well as interest in conversion of gas to high value chemicals, and interest in LNG facility investments.



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