Syntroleum to study gas to-liquids plant for Chile

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Aug. 29 -- Syntroleum Corp., Tulsa, Thursday said it has an agreement with Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) and Advantage Resources International Inc., Denver, to study a 10,000 b/d gas-to-liquids plant for Chile.

The plant would be at the ENAP-owned Cabo Negro Industrial Park near Punta Arenas. The proposed project would use currently available gas delivered by pipeline from fields in Argentina and Chile.

ENAP, the Chilean national oil company, intends to buy and transport the fuels produced at the plant to consumers in Santiago.

Syntroleum said, "Because Santiago lies in a central valley between two mountain ranges, it experiences some of the world's most serious air quality problems. The government of Chile has declared a national priority for establishing tougher fuels emissions standards to improve air quality in the Valle Central."

Ron Roberson, a Syntroleum spokesman, said the study would be completed this year. The company has completed site visits and surveys.

The Cabo Negro Industrial site has a methanol plant operated by Methanex Corp., an ENAP natural gas liquids fractionation plant, warehousing and construction yards for offshore oil and gas projects, and marine export terminals.

If the study confirms expectations, ENAP and Advantage have expressed interest in obtaining a license for Syntroleum's GTL technology and beginning front-end engineering and design during the first quarter.

Syntroleum said Advantage and ENAP have been exploring for oil and gas in the Tierra del Fuego basin for a dozen years. In 1991, they discovered a potentially significant gas field while looking for oil. The absence of a local market for the gas precluded further delineation drilling and development.

Mark Agee, Syntroleum president and COO, said the Chilean deal is one of several potential GTL projects the company is pursuing in Latin America.

James Dean, Advantage Resources president, said, "We believe the advent of GTL technology provides us with a viable alternative to traditional gas marketing. This not only gives us the possibility of finally monetizing this asset, but also provides additional impetus to explore for more gas in the basin. Chile is a logical place for this first step to be taken due to the government mandate to introduce cleaner diesel fuel into the Santiago area."

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