Increasing Deployment of GTL Technology for Developing Clean Fuel Globally Supports Growth of Gas to Liquids Market

Gas to liquids (GTL) is a refinery process for converting natural gas or any other kind of gaseous hydrocarbons to longer-chain hydrocarbons such as diesel fuel or gasoline. Methane-rich gases get converted to liquid synthetic fuels either via direct conversion or non-catalytic processes. These processes are used for the conversion of methane to methanol in just a single step or by syngas as an intermediate using Mobil, Fischer Tropsch, and syngas to gasoline plus processes.

The globally rising consumption of energy and an emphasis on converting of waste flare gas into useful products globally are amongst the major factors fuelling the development of the gas to liquids market. In addition, the policies made by governments globally in favor of the development of clean fuel will also impact the market positively. Furthermore, the increasing consumption of natural gas, particularly within nations such as Japan, China, and India and the rising advancement of smaller sized micro-channel reactors in place of the traditionally utilized reactors have emerged as key growth opportunities in the market.

There are a number of commercial uses of the gas to liquid processes. Transparency Market Research (TMR), a market intelligence company throws light on the top commercial uses of gas to liquid processes and the ways these processes have been deployed by a number of companies in different application areas.

Refineries are able to convert a large amount of their gaseous waste products into valuable fuel oils, which can then be sold as-is or can be blended with diesel fuel. As per the World Bank, more than 150 bn cubic meters of natural gas is vented or flared yearly, an amount worth around $30.6 bn, which is an equivalent to 25% of the gas consumption of the U.S or 30% of the annual gas consumption of the European Union, using the method of GTL. 


GTL processes are also utilized in the economic extraction of gas deposits within locations where it is not viable to build a pipeline. The popularity of the GTL process is increasing owing to the depletion of crude oil resources.

Biofuels Power Corporation (BFLS) signed a letter of intent with Liberty GTL, Inc. and thyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions on August 1, 2014 on building a small scale GTL demonstration facility within Houston, Texas. This GTL pilot plant was completed on December 31, 2014. The key purpose of this GTL pilot plant was to present a commercial demonstration of converting the stranded natural gas resources into synthetic crude oil. More such projects are afoot worldwide and will likely accelerate the development of the gas to liquids market.

In the early days of experimenting of GTL by a number of organizations, Petrobras, a Brazilian oil company has employed two small experimental GTL production facilities for its offshore oil fields. The research and development center of Petrobras has approved the commercial deployment of this GTL technology, supplied by CompactGTL, a UK-based GTL company. Thus, such development will further augment the development of the market.

Thus, the deployment of GTL technology in a number of applications globally will fuel the overall market in the coming years. However, the need for considerable expenditure for the development of large-scale GTL plants is a major factor that may inhibit the growth of the market in the coming years.

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