Look Towards A New Future

Apr 16, 2012

Gas-to-Liquids Processes for Chemicals and Energy Production

Worldwide, natural gas reserves far exceed oil reserves.  Indeed, at current consumption rates, the earth has about a 45-year supply of oil, compared with a nearly 1,000-year supply of natural gas.  In many locales, though, natural gas is “stranded” and thus suppliers have limited markets.  A key objective of gas suppliers is the development of processing and conversion technologies, such as gas to liquids, that would enable entry to the multitrillion-dollar market for chemicals and liquid fuels.

The gas-to-liquids (GTL) business is involved in the chemical conversion of stranded natural gas feedstocks to liquid products such as transportation fuels and chemicals.  Insofar as beneficial processing of the world’s huge resource base of stranded natural gas is concerned, GTL processing is a relatively recent research and development (R&D) focus of the petrochemical industry.  Development of commercial-scale GTL plants, utilizing stranded natural gas, is a relatively recent development, too.  Hence, the need for this BCC Research report.

Report Details:

Published: April 2012
No. of Pages: 219
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  • The total market value of products produced using GTL (gas-to-liquids), CTL (Coal-to-liquids), and BTL (biomass-to-liquids) was $4.4 billion in 2010 and $4.5 billion in 2011. BCC projects this market will increase from $4.6 billion in 2012 to $6.8 billion by 2017, a CAGR of 8.1% over the five year period.
  • The market value of products produced by GTL processes was $1.8 billion in 2011. This value should reach $1.9 billion in 2012 and $2.7 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 7.3% between 2012 and 2017.
  • The market value of products produced by CTL processes is expected to increase from $2.6 billion in 2012 to $4 billion in 2017, a CAGR of 9%.
Liquid GTL products are primarily transportation fuels (and are defined as synthetic fuels, or synthetic fuels) and chemical feedstocks such as methanol, hydrogen, and other petrochemicals.  As the terms are presently used in the petrochemical industry, “GTL” and “GTL products” refer mainly to the output of plants (or refineries) that utilize stranded natural gas as feedstock.  For that reason, conventional production of chemicals, including high-volume methanol, typically via steam methane reforming (SMR) of nonstranded natural gas, is not a principal focus of this report.

The objective of this BCC Research report is to provide an up-to-date and critical evaluation of the most dynamic and pathbreaking aspects of GTL technology and describe how recent breakthroughs in conversion technology have made GTL products competitive with products refined from crude oil.  This report discusses the use of GTL processes to produce ultraclean diesel fuels and high-quality chemical products such as waxes.  BCC assesses the role of GTL as an enabling technology for the production of clean transportation fuels.

A principal focus of the report is individual company initiatives and their R&D focus.  Discussed as well is the status of all major GTL projects around the world that utilize stranded gas.  Included are descriptions of technologies and products, and a forecast of the GTL market through 2017.  The report quantifies demand for GTL by type of output, application, and production technology.  A significant component of this report analyzes competitive synfuel concepts, as the commercial success of competitive synfuel concepts will weigh heavily on the ultimate trajectory of the GTL business.  These competitive fuels include those derived from coal-to-liquids (CTL) and biomass-to-liquids (BTL).

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