Infra Technology, a company specializing in the development of synthetic fuels from natural gas, coal, and biomass, opened the first completed small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in the state of Texas. This paper presents an overview of the challenges of using traditional synthesis gas reforming methods for efficient gas-to-liquids (GTL) conversion.
A recently opened plant in Wharton marks the first small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids project in the state of Texas. Roughly one-half of global gas reserves are considered stranded gas--uneconomical because of the remote location of potential markets, lack of economic transportation and infrastructure, or the lack of conversion technology. An FPSO with gas to liquids conversion is an option for stranded gas.
Converting gas to liquids (GTL) through the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) route to monetize stranded gas has received increasing attention over the past few years. FT technology is a process that rearranges carbon and hydrogen molecules in a manner that produces a liquid, heavier hydrocarbon molecule. In general, GTL through the FT route refers to technology for the conversion of natural gas to liquid; however, GTL is a generic term applicable to any hydrocarbon feedstock. This page focuses on GTL processes based on natural gas feedstock. FT chemistry originated during the early 1920s from the pioneering work of Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch at the Kaiser Wilhelm Inst.
The booming of shale gas production has affected the natural gas price in the United States (U.S). Natural gas price has plummeted due to the excessive capacity. On the other hand, the import of crude oil and its production of diesel, gasoline, and others are increasing. The problem lies in finding a practical, economical and efficient way of making natural gas marketable. A potential solution is Small-scale Gas-to-Liquids plants. Small-scale GTL can fulfill some of the petroleum products demand such as Gasoline, Ultra-low-sulfur diesel, and jet-fuel. Small-scale GTL plants especially can benefit countries where the gas production is higher than gas demand, yet these countries depend on imported oil.
A Monte Carlo simulation approach is used to conduct sensitivity analysis on various parameters such as the feedstock/natural gas price, plant capacity, plant efficiency, capital expenditure (CAPEX), operational expenditure (OPEX), and products selling prices. The range for natural gas prices and gasoline prices are obtained from average historical data in the United States for the past five (10) years where the shale gas production is booming. The CAPEX is attained from previous GTL project plants before using the Power-Sizing model and literature. The annual OPEX is the percentage fraction of the CAPEX. The plant capacity was chosen based on the diseconomy factor estimated from previous GTL projects. Even with the premium quality of GTL products, the selling price for the products is equal to regular crude oil products.
Economic metrics such as Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Cost-to-Profit (C/P) ratio and Payback Period were used to assess the success of GTL technology at each given business case. Results showed that NPV, IRR, C/P ratio and payback period are most affected by CAPEX, products selling price, OPEX, and capacity of the plant, in respected order. Based on these case scenarios and parameters, sensitivity analysis is conducted using Monte Carlo's simulation of 10,000 iterations the results for NPV, IRR, C/P ratio and payback period showed that the GTL project is profitable. The NPVs for the GTL plant in this study are positive for all case scenarios.
It is expected that the outcome of this research would guide shale gas producers and private investors when considering GTL investment to monetize their assets in the United States and beyond.
This paper presents an overview of the challenges of using traditional synthesis gas reforming methods for efficient gas-to-liquids (GTL) conversion. A second objective is to show how newly emerging reformer technologies, such as those based on plasma or catalytic partial oxidation, will provide significant improvements. A case also will be made for how these new technologies, when paired with a high-efficiency Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, provide a profitable alternative to the environmentally damaging, and wasteful, practice of flaring or venting associated gas. Given the limitations of footprint, weight, safety, cost, and other factors for platform operations, the use of the FT process for flared-gas conversion to liquids is challenging. This study shows that the best process uses a catalytic partial-oxidation reformer, a unique wax-free FT catalyst, and an advanced FT reactor to meet all platform criteria while cutting traditional capital expenditures (Capex) and operational expenditures (Opex) in half.
Infra Technology, a company specializing in the development of synthetic fuels from natural gas, coal, and biomass, opened the first completed small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in the state of Texas. Located in Wharton, a small town 60 miles southwest of Houston, the plant will produce synthetic crude oil from natural and associated gas. The Wharton plant is Infra's first plant in the US. The company has been operating pilot plants in Russia for the past 7 years. Modularly constructed, the plant utilizes GTL technology based on the Fischer-Tropsch process, where hydrocarbons are created through a series of chemical reactions.
This study presents a comparative evaluation of a Floating Gas to Liquid Facility (FGTL) and a Floating Liquid Natural gas Facility (FLNG) as a way to monetize Associated Gas (AG) from existing oil producing offshore fields or from remote offshore gas fields. The study aims at showing that the FGTL is an option to be considered as a way to monetize AG.
For this purpose, a previous study presented to the OMAE under OMAE2016 – 55152 is used for the FLNG with one liquefaction train for nitrogen refrigerant. This FLNG concept serves as a benchmark to evaluate the technical and economic relevance of the FGTL through the Net Present Value (NPV) of the Life Cycle Cost (LCC). The LCC compares the difference between the FGTL and the FLNG NPVs on the basis of a selling price for the gasoline of 1.4, 2.0 and 2.4 USD/Gal with a price for the LNG varying from 3.5 to 7.5 USD/MMBTU.
The AG FGTL is presented in detail with a capacity of 6,000 bpd of gasoline (methanol production being an option to Gasoline). Natural gas is converted into gasoline by a proprietary natural gas to Liquids technology awarded with AIP (Approval In Principal) by ABS for off-shore GTL, which includes five principal steps in one continuous gas-phase process loop using only standard components: (1) Steam Methane Reforming; (2) Methanol Synthesis; (3) Gasoline Synthesis; (4) Gasoline Treatment; (5) Separation. This proprietary technology has several advantages over other GTL technologies including single product, long catalyst lifetime and higher allowable levels of CO2 in AG. Gasoline produced using a proprietary natural gas to Liquids technology can be blended with refinery gasoline or sold directly into the wholesale market.
Infra Technology's first completed small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) project is their first in the US. Infra Technology, a company specializing in the development of synthetic fuels from natural gas, coal, and biomass, opened the first completed small-scale commercial gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in the state of Texas.