Conoco to build $75 million gas-to-liquids demonstration plant


By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, May 14 -- Conoco Inc., Houston, Monday announced plans to build a $75 million demonstration plant in Ponca City, Okla., to commercialize the company's proprietary technology for converting natural gas to liquids.

Converting natural gas into liquids could enable economic development of stranded gas reserves estimated at more than 4,000 tcf worldwide, the company said, adding GTL technology promises to increase cost-effective energy supplies worldwide.

Gary Edwards, Conoco senior executive vice-president, said, "The Bush administration will address these issues in its soon-to-be-introduced national energy policy. Part of the long-term solution will be to find more energy supplies that can be brought to market easily."

Jim Rockwell, Conoco GTL manager, said his company's technology is at the point where a full-scale plant is economical.

"Building the demonstration plant will enable us to gather the engineering data required to design a much larger commercial plant," Rockwell said.

A team of 80 scientists and engineers, who have been researching gas-conversion technologies since 1997, has designed, manufactured, and tested various reactor configurations and more than 4,500 catalysts.

GTL technology has the potential for widespread environmental benefit because it produces fuels like methanol and sulfur-free diesel that could displace less efficient, higher emission fuels, claimed Conoco.

Slated for completion in September 2002, the demonstration plant will convert gas into 400 b/d of sulfur-free diesel, jet fuel, and other products. After proving its low-cost GTL technology, the demonstration plant will test new gas-conversion and petrochemical technologies.

Conoco expects to begin construction of its first commercial GTL plant by 2004.

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