EIA Pessimistic on GTL Plants

Small plants maximizing wax output could be built


Published:

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said poor economics will prevent the construction of any large-scale gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants in the U.S. through 2040, although small ones might be built.

Two large-scale GTL plants are operating in Malaysia, two in Qatar and one in South Africa. A large plant is proposed for Lake Charles, Louisiana, and small ones are planned for Karns City, Pennsylvania, and Ashtabula, Ohio. Last December, Shell cancelled plans to build a large-scale facility in Louisiana.

The Fischer-Tropsch synthesis process is commonly used to convert methane to waxes and liquid fuels, but uses high pressures and temperatures that require an expensive reaction vessel. An alternative technology uses a “micro-channel” reactor and proprietary catalysts that produce liquids on much smaller scales.

EIA said U.S. imports of waxes have grown steadily over the last decade for the manufacture of candles, paints and coatings, resins, plastic, synthetic rubber, tires, and other products. It said most GTL developers are trying to configure their plants to maximize the output of waxes and lubricating products.

Archive »Recent Articles

Compressor Station’s Waste Heat Captured

ElectraTherm has partnered with ConocoPhillips to capture waste heat from a compression station at Cessford, Alberta, and generate 90kWe of electricity.

Energy Efficiency Criteria Coming for Compressors

The U.S. Department of Energy plans to establish energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressors as part of a program to reduce methane leaks from natural gas pipelines.

U.S. Gas Injections at Record Pace

EIA said that nearly midway through the summer storage injection season (the beginning of April through the end of October), it projects a record build of 2.6 Tcf (73 x 109 m3) will bring stocks to 3.4 Tcf (96 x 109 m3) by the beginning of winter.

CDM Boosts Niobrara Shale Capability

CDM Resource Management LLC is expanding its Greeley, Colorado, facilities to meet growing demand for compression services in the Niobrara Shale play of Colorado and Wyoming.

Natgas Rides Tight Oil Drilling Boom

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported that although the number of natural gas-directed drilling rigs is particularly low at 250 rotaries, gas production has grown 5% year-over-year.