Technip-Coflexip to design and build GTL (Gas-To-Liquid) complex in Qatar
The joint venture company between Qatar Petroleum and Sasol of South Africa, Oryx GTL Limited, awarded Technip-Coflexip (NYSE: TKP and Euronext: 13170) an EPC contract, worth about US $675 million, for the design and construction in Qatar of the world’s largest, and most advanced, natural gas-to-liquids (GTL) complex.
This complex, to be located in Ras Laffan Industrial City, will use as feedstock approximately 330 million cubic feet per day of lean gas from the North Field to produce 34,000 barrels per day of liquids (24,000 bl/day of diesel, 9,000 bl/day of naphtha and 1,000 bl/day of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)). It will be based on the Slurry Phase Distillate* process developed and commercialised by Sasol in South Africa.
This is the first GTL project to be set up in the Middle East.
Technip-Coflexip’s scope of work includes detail engineering, procurement and construction. The engineering centre of Technip-Coflexip based in Rome will carry out the project.
Production of GTL is slated to begin late 2005.
Based on the Fisher-Tropsch technology, various processes have been developed by major oil companies – Sasol’s being the most advanced one – to convert gas to high-quality and environmentally-friendly liquid hydrocarbons that can be easily transported from the gas producing countries.
With the world’s largest single natural gas reserve, Oryx GTL forms a foundation on which Qatar can build on its desire to be the GTL capital of the world.
For Technip-Coflexip, this contract, won against high-level international competitors, represents a major breakthrough on the emerging market of gas-to-liquids (GTL) facilities for which several large-scale projects will be developed in the near future in the Middle East and Africa. This is also another major step in Technip-Coflexip’s close collaboration in the industrial development of Qatar and further proof of its international leadership in the design and construction of gas facilities.
* Sasol’s Slury Phase Distillate technology is based on Sasol’s Slurry Phase Fischer-Tropsch process and catalyst, Haldor Topsoe’s Autothermal Reforming and Chevron Texaco’s Isocracking process.
With a workforce of about 18,000, Technip-Coflexip ranks among the top five in the field of oil and petrochemical engineering, construction and services. Headquartered in Paris, the Group is listed in New York (NYSE: TKP) and in Paris (Euronext: 13170). The main engineering and business centers of Technip-Coflexip are located in France, Italy, Germany, the UK, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, the United States, Brazil, Abu-Dhabi, China, India, Malaysia and Australia. The Group has high-quality industrial and construction facilities in France, Brazil, the UK, the USA, and Finland as well as a world class fleet of offshore construction vessels.
Statements in this news release other than historical financial information are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially depending on factors such as capital expenditures in the oil and gas industry, the timing of development of offshore energy resources, materialization of construction risks, the strength of competition, interest rate movements and stability in developing countries.
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More about GTL
Gas-to-liquids, or GTL, technology is a process for converting natural gas into petroleum products such as naphtha and diesel fuel. These fuels are very clean with effectively no pollution-causing sulphur or aromatic hydrocarbons. The high cetane number of the diesel fuel will help meeting future more stringent specifications.
GTL technology is becoming increasingly important not only for its environment friendly aspects, but also because it provides a means of efficient treatment and safe transport of natural gas. It is estimated that the total known natural gas reserves are in excess of 60 years of current annual gas consumption, while crude oil reserves will last somewhat less (about 40 years). A big portion of these gas reserves, however are considered unusable or “stranded” because they are too far from consumers and difficult to transport. GTL offers a way to convert stranded gas into products and fuels that can be transported and sold through conventional tanker, pipeline, storage facilities and retail distribution systems. From a logistics standpoint, GTL is therefore more attractive than LNG (liquefied natural gas) which requires a dedicated, highly secure logistical chain.
The GTL technology primarily consists of three stages: first, converting natural gas into synthesis gas, or “syngas”, which is made up of hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO); and second, manufacturing liquid fuel from syngas using a process developed by two German scientists, Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch, in 1923. The third stage consists of a work-up section to yield finished products. In general, it takes approximately 10 million BTU of natural gas to produce one barrel of petroleum product.
In the past, the Fischer-Tropsch process proved useful during periods marked by disruptions to crude oil supply. For example, it was used in Germany during the Second World War and in South Africa to offset the effects of the imposed oil embargo: in both cases, diesel and gasoline came from synthesis gas produced from coal.
Today, the focus has shifted to requirements for cleaner fuels and economically viable means of exploiting abundant quantities of stranded gas. Therefore it is expected that the GTL industry will grow significantly in the coming years.