Gas to Liquids – Historical Development and Future Prospects

While GTL or ‘Gas to Liquids’ is frequently referred to in natural gas circles, apart from project-specific summaries produced by the sponsoring companies, there is little in the way of contemporary literature to set the context for GTL against the backdrop of today’s increasingly connected global gas situation.

As with many technological advances, ‘necessity was the mother of invention’ for the Fischer Tropsch Gas to Liquid (FTGTL) process in Germany during World War II and in South Africa during the long period of OPEC and UN oil sanctions.  This paper reviews the genesis of the technology in these countries and also subsequent related applications in Malaysia, New Zealand and Alaska.  The major expansion in FTGTL production in Qatar can be seen as a strategic push to diversify market monetisation channels by this major gas resource holder. The Oryx project in particular provides sufficient cost and operating data from which the wider economic characteristics of FTGTL can be broadly assessed.

By: Olga Glebova

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