Gas-to-Liquids Processes for Chemicals and Energy Production

Published - Oct 2000| Analyst - Edward Gobina| Code - EGY021A
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Report Highlights

  • Natural gas liquids (NGLs) also will show an increase in demand growth. Between 1999 and 2004, NGLs will show demand growth with an AAGR of 5.9% per year as gas processing improves.
  • Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) gas-to-liquids (GTL) represent the largest demand base for GTLs. In 2004, this category will represent 94.2% of total GTL demand. In the next five years (1999-2004), F-T GTL fuels demand will grow at an AAGR of 5.7% per year under new environmental legislation for clean transportation fuels that became effective in January 2000.

INTRODUCTION

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Communications Company (BCC), Inc. has completed a study on gas-to-liquids (GTL) for chemicals and energy production. The study gives a critical view of methane-derived liquid fuels and chemicals including demand scenarios. It assesses the role of gas-to-liquids as an enabling technology for the production of high-quality clean transportation fuels and chemicals. It quantifies the demand for GTL by type of product, application and production technology, and the relationships between major consumers and producers.

Focus is placed on various GTL technologies including the critical stages of processing and how they relate to consumption and demand patterns. The objective of this BCC GTL report is, therefore, to provide a critical evaluation of the current status of GTL technology and how recent breakthroughs in conversion technology will make GTL products competitive with liquid crude oil as transportation and power generation fuels and/or as synthesis feedstocks for methane-derived chemicals.

REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY

The main component of GTL production, the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reaction pathway, has been known for more than seven decades. Initially, the technology was applied to conversion of coal-based feedstocks into liquid fuels. Over the years, however, the technology has witnessed significant improvements in reactor design, product recovery and in the production of synthesis gas. This has enabled the economic use of natural gas feedstocks.

Therefore, the use of GTL for chemical and energy production is envisaged to make a rapid advance in the next few years as even more stringent environmental legislation is enforced. Higher-purity transportation fuels will become mandatory and harmful chemical emissions will be drastically reduced. GTL will offer both petroleum refiners and automakers flexibility to meet international agreements. Therefore, the major reasons for carrying out the study are:

  • to assess and quantify the current GTL market and demand
  • to investigate and evaluate the future use of GTL as chemical feedstocks and for energy production in the period 1999 through 2004
  • to show how offshore activity impacts on U.S. and worldwide GTL demand
  • to determine the extent of the impact of GTL developments on the petroleum industry.

CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY AND FOR WHOM

This study contributes to the practical realities challenging standards that have resulted from the commercialization of GTL. During the last two years, two major international development consortiums have been working on two scientific thrusts to lower the costs of GTL process economics from more than $30 per barrel of oil to $18 to $20 per barrel. At these prices, GTL offers the potential of making a significant contribution to the U.S. clean fuels program on one hand, and enables the U.S. to meet international agreement targets on the other. To this end, the study will be useful to marketing managers, strategic planners, forecasters, new product and developers, decision makers in the chemical and energy industries as well as government agencies, venture capitalists and those involved in research and development work.

SCOPE AND FORMAT

This report assesses and evaluates the demand and costs of GTL in the chemical and energy production markets as well as the near-term options of its production to meet the demand. The report is divided into eight sections.

It begins with an overview that describes the importance of the GTL industry in relation to the overall U.S. economy including a brief history and important indications for the GTL industry. Major products and applications are reviewed, and the future effect of the GTL industry is discussed. Key findings from the study are presented.

The government environmental/energy regulation scene is discussed as it applies to GTL and there are descriptions of environmental regulation changes and agencies involved.

The structure of the GTL industry and competitive aspects are analyzed including the driving forces of the industry. Key strategies for staying competitive and important shifts in the industry are assessed. GTL industry trade practices and the impact of GTL on the oil industry are covered. Concentration factors, market shares by company and changes are presented. Other aspects in this section include market segmentation, distribution channels, pricing economics and purchasing influences.

GTL markets by product type are evaluated. These include liquefied natural gas (LNG), natural gas liquids (NGL), synthetic fuels, liquid hydrogen (LH2), ammonia and methanol. These are quantified and forecasts made up to 2004. GTL demand by type of applications such as chemicals (organic, inorganic, plastics, waxes, lubricants, etc.) and energy (transportation, industrial and utility) also is assessed and quantified with forecasts made to 2004.

GTL technology is presented by covering patent evaluation and markets and investments by technology type. This includes Shell middle distillate synthesis (SMDS), Sasol slurry phase distillate (SSPD), advanced gas conversion technology 21st Century (AGC-21), Syntroleum process (SP), Catalytica and Rentech. Process economics and industry giants are assessed including company expertise and know-how.

International GTL aspects also are considered including trade data by product and forecasts for the 1999-2004 time frame. The effects of foreign and U.S. investment and technology by country/and or region are quantified. Major overseas companies involved in GTL processes and their activities also are assessed.

Company profiles of major players are provided with evaluation and discussion. Their activities in the GTL are report_highlightsed and the report includes telephone and fax numbers along with contact names.

METHODOLOGY

In this report, both historic and current data have been used in the GTL demand analysis. Therefore, the results of the calculations presented here are based on three components: historic analysis of GTL demand in the period 1996-1999, estimates for 1999, and forecasted demand for the 1999-2004 time frame.

INFORMATION SOURCES

Information sources include trade data (national and international), company publicity literature, conference reports, world trade technical journals and interviews with company representatives.

Table of Contents & Pricing

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