Datapages, Inc.Print this page

David Gray1, Glen Tomlinson1, Venkat Venkataraman2, Ralph Avellanet2
(1) Mitretek Systems, McLean, VA
(2) U.S. Department of Energy, N/A

Abstract: GTL: Technology, economics, risks and potential as a source of future clean transportation fuels

Although natural gas is more widely distributed than petroleum, 73 percent of the world's known reserves occur in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and the Middle East. A major barrier to increased natural gas consumption worldwide is the lack of infrastructure to bring much of this gas to market. An alternative to both liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gas pipelines for remote gas utilization is Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technologies. GTL offers the opportunity to bring remote and associated natural gas to markets by converting the gas into high quality liquid fuels that can be transported in conventional liquid petroleum tankers. This is accomplished by first converting the natural gas into synthesis gas and then using this to produce liquid hydrocarbons with Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) synthesis. This allows natural gas to be used as a transportation fuel while maintaining the existing liquid fuels infrastructure.

GTL liquid products are zero sulfur, zero nitrogen, zero aromatic, ultra clean transportation fuels that have been shown to significantly reduce exhaust emissions from vehicles. These distillate fuels, particularly diesel, are expected to be in great demand in developing countries where transportation demand is burgeoning. Liquid fuels are also much easier to transport and utilize than LNG. GTL technology is just beginning to penetrate into the commercial marketplace and there remain many technical and economic risks that need to be addressed.

This paper reviews GTL technology, discusses the products and addresses the current economics. Technical and economic risks are considered together with an assessment of the prospects of this technology to provide clean liquid transportation fuels for the 21st century.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90914©2000 AAPG Annual Convention, New Orleans, Louisiana