• 9 hours PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 11 hours Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 13 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 14 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 15 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 16 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 18 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 19 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 21 hours Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 22 hours Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 1 day Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 1 day British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 2 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 2 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 2 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 2 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 2 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 2 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 3 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 3 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 4 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 4 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 4 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 4 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 4 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 4 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 4 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 4 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 5 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 5 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 5 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 5 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 5 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
This Major Political Shift Could Rock Copper Markets

This Major Political Shift Could Rock Copper Markets

Chile’s upcoming Presidential elections could…

With A World Awash In Oil, Kazakhstan Faces Fuel Crisis

With A World Awash In Oil, Kazakhstan Faces Fuel Crisis

Kazakhstan is struggling with a…

Petrobras Design New GTL Process to Create Cheap Oil from Natural Gas

Petrobras Design New GTL Process to Create Cheap Oil from Natural Gas

U.S. innovation, technology and willingness to share it, has created an abundance of natural gas for the U. S. and will impact the rest of the world in the coming years.  There is also a great deal of natural gas that is ignored, where pipe-lining to market is impractical or uneconomic.  The price differential of cheap gas and expensive oil also provides a major incentive to recover exploration risk capital when gas is found and oil is not.

Petrobras, the Brazilian based petroleum firm is reported to have qualified and approved a new technology to convert natural gas to synthetic crude oil.  The Petrobras’ CENPES Research and Development Centre completed its trials of the CompactGTL unit prompting Nicholas Gay, chief executive of CompactGTL to say, “The [Petrobras] test program has produced some extremely positive results and has shown the plant can be robust, with the operational availability (the percent of time a unit would operate) expected of large scale commercial facilities. We can now progress our plans in conjunction with clients throughout the world to develop commercial scale modular gas to liquid plants.”

CompactGTL offers a modular GTL solution for a variety of natural gas to liquids conversion needs.  The modular design and the implicit lower investment cost suggest the vast resource of non-marketable natural gas could become sources of crude oil.  That allows a pressure free containment and no temperature input that could then bring the liquid and more energy dense syncrude resources to market.

CompactGTL 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.  The firm is suggesting reactors can be relocated.  No huge installation needs to be built.

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 proprietary metal-supported structured catalysts, located in a regular array of thousands of closely spaced channels.  It’s looking like a factory mass production plan instead of custom built installations.

The first stage CompactGTL reactor uses Steam Methane Reforming 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 (FT) process into synthetic crude oil, water and a ‘tail gas’ composed of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and light hydrocarbon gases.

At this first introductory point it looks as though the CompactGTL needs only the natural gas and water source as inputs with a start source for the heat.  As the graphic shows, the steam cycles and the FT reactor refuels the first reformer reactor.

A key engineering advantage is the close relationship between the two reactors providing efficient management of the overall system. The two reactions are tuned to work together to maximize efficiency and minimize 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.

CompactGTLs proprietary catalysts and the shared activities of the two reactors is planned to offer a self-contained plant operating a stable process that won’t need an oxygen supply.

Al Fin has pointed out that CompactGTL isn’t alone in the soon to explode market.  Mr. Fin also noted the Oxford Catalyst and the Velocys microchannel technology as candidates worthy of close watching. As those two firms reach milestones in their paths we’ll have a look.

To recap, natural gas is a wonderful fuel, but is doesn’t transport easily or cheaply over great distances.  Moving down pipelines with customers each few hundred feet works great.  Big resources can justify large investments in pipelines to get to a market.  But in much of the world and in remote or deep water locations the gas is just shut in, burned off for no use other than safety, or worst of all just vented into the atmosphere to the justified horror of the global warming folks.

Jeremy Coller, the investor behind the CompactGTL effort understands the impact a breakthrough on the investment needed to get natural gas to market said, “With this approval from Petrobras the company has passed a critical milestone, demonstrating its leadership in an area with the potential to be a game-changer for oil and gas exploration.”

Its looks like a game-changer, indeed.

By. Brian Westenhaus 

Source: Natural Gas Will Be Changed to Oil



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • YOKU on January 29 2012 said:
    Very encouraging development. Can the Brazilian company consider training chemical engineers from developing countries in this field?

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News