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Financial Times: Natural gas offers hope to oil companies

By Thomas Catan in London
A novel way to create an ultra-clean fuel for cars that uses natural gas instead of oil is on the verge of rapid growth, analysts say, driven by soaring oil prices and a thirst for alternative fuels.
Oil companies are investing billions of dollars in the nascent technology, called “gas-to- liquids” or GTL, which can be used to produce quality diesel and a range of other products normally derived from crude.
The process was developed in Nazi Germany and apartheid South Africa but is about to be tested on a commercial scale for the first time in a few weeks’ time, when the largest plant so far opens in Qatar.
The Oryx GTL plant, a joint venture between South Africa’s Sasol and Qatar Petroleum, is being closely watched by competitors and investors looking for the next big thing in energy.
Audi: Gas-to-liquids technology or GTL represents a way to turn remote natural gas fields into highly valuable products.
“For a variety of reasons, it would appear that the GTL industry is at an inflection point,” said Frank Harris, an analyst at Wood Mackenzie, the Scotland-based international oil consultancy. “If Oryx is successful combined with some of the other projects in the works, and this new paradigm for the oil price, it could be a huge catalyst for GTL.” Wood Mackenzie believes the next ten years will see more than $40bn invested in GTL plants – with the majority going to the tiny Arab emirate of Qatar. It sees around 600,000 barrels a day of GTL products being manufactured by 2015.
“This would very much be a niche compared to the demand for oil products, but we would expect that there could be rapid growth thereafter,” said Alan Gelder, GTL analyst at Wood Mackenzie. Other consultancies, such as Cambridge Energy Re-search Associates, see 1m b/d by 2015 of GTL production. The potential market is huge. Japan reportedly wants one-fifth of its transport fuel to come from GTL or bio-fuels by 2030.
Carmakers are also interested. Royal Dutch Shell is working with Toyota, Volkswagen and DaimlerChrysler to create vehicles that run on pure GTL diesel, which combines high-power with extremely low emissions.
If you want more info on GTL, CTL and BTL you can read: –
http://www.carlist.com/autonews/2006/autonews_260.html

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1 Comment on “Financial Times: Natural gas offers hope to oil companies”

  1. #1 louannhammond
    on Mar 20th, 2006 at 14:51

    If you want more info on GTL, CTL and BTL you can read
    http://www.carlist.com/autonews/2006/autonews_260.html

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