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Carbon Sciences

Carbon Sciences to Build Its First GTL Plant

Carbon SciencesCarbon Sciences says it is focusing on Oklahoma as the location of its first gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant, which will turn natural gas into cleaner-burning gasoline.

The company is evaluating several sites in the Tulsa area, CEO Bill Beifuss says. Carbon Sciences needs about 15 acres to build a modular miniGTL plant.

Its miniGTL plant will allow the matching of the equipment to the quantity of natural gas, as well as allow for portability if gas flow declines over time, the company says. Unlike large-scale GTL plants, such as those developed by Shell and Sasol that require large gas fields, a miniGTL plant in the 1,000 to 2,000 barrel per day range can be built to monetize small to medium size fields, which account for nearly 40 percent of gas fields in the world.

The company estimates that a miniGTL plant producing about 1,000 barrels per day of transportation fuel can be contained in as few as 60 modules. A modular design enables rail car or truck transportation and installation to remote sites with limited infrastructure. Modular construction additionally will allow the company to manufacture in low-cost production centers and then transport the modules to the gas field, resulting in a substantial cost savings over on-site construction, Carbon Sciences says.

In addition to its first-generation miniGTL plant, the company is also developing a proprietary technology to enable a second-generation GTL plant that it says will produce even cleaner gasoline by using captured CO2 or low value, high CO2 content natural gas as part of the process.

According to the company, a preliminary study indicates that the Tulsa area could meets its requirements for developing and operating a profitable GTL plant. Beifuss says natural gas is abundant in this part of the country and Tulsa has an experienced oil and gas workforce.

Carbon Sciences’ technology can also be used to transform natural gas into other valuable, large volume products, such as hydrogen, methanol, ammonia, solvents and plastics, the company says.

Total US liquid fuels production — a category including crude oil, natural gas liquids, refinery gains and biofuels — increases to more than 18 million barrels per day in 2040 in the Energy Information Administration’s higher resource scenario, compared to 12 million bbl/d in the EIA’s reference case, published late last week. That higher level of production would reduce net imports to 7 percent or less of total demand compared to 40 percent in 2012, the EIA says.

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