Cerilon lets contract for proposed North Dakota GTL complex

March 14, 2024
Cerilon Inc. has let a contract to Chevron USA Inc. to deliver processing technologies for the first phase of subsidiary Cerilon GTL Inc.’s proposed grassroots gas-to-liquids complex in North Dakota.

Calgary-based Cerilon Inc. has let a contract to Chevron Corp. subsidiary Chevron USA Inc. to deliver processing technologies for the first phase of subsidiary Cerilon GTL Inc.’s proposed grassroots gas-to-liquids (GTL) complex in Trenton, Williams County, ND (OGJ Online, Oct. 21, 2021).

As part of the Mar. 13 contract, Chevron USA will license a suite of its proprietary hydroprocessing technologies optimized to treat feedstocks with unique properties during the final step of the planned complex’s three-step GTL process that aims to convert North Dakota’s abundant natural gas supplies into 24,000 b/d of high-performance synthetic products, including ultralow-sulfur diesel (ULSD), naphtha, and Group III+ lubricant base oils, Cerilon said.

This latest contract for Phase 1 of the proposed $2.8-billion GTL complex—a future phase of which is to include a commercial carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) component—follows the operator’s previous contract award to Worley Ltd. to provide engineering works on the project, according to a March 2023 release from Worley.

Worley’s scope of delivery on the GTL-CCS project will include front-end loading (FEL-2) engineering using a modularization methodology based on a design-one, build-many approach that will be replicable to enable construction of future plants at enhanced speed to market, the service provider said.

Cerilon also previously awarded ABB Ltd. a contract to supply front-end design services, including automation and digital solutions, for Phase 1 of the project, the service provider said in a Mar. 9, 2023, release.

ABB said its work under the contract will include development of an automation design basis (ADB) methodology that will influence and guide the automation project throughout the system lifecycle execution. Serving as the core strategy guidance, the ADB will cover reference frameworks, specifications, and requirements, as well as engineering and maintenance activities, to ensure safe, reliable, and smart operations at the GTL plant.

ABB’s design will also cover application of advanced digital solutions—including digital twin technology—for performance optimization and operational integration that will result in a future-proof plant design that can be replicated for additional new builds.

Slated to become the lowest-carbon footprint plant of its kind in the world if realized, the proposed GTL plant—the location of which allows for rail and pipeline access and offers carbon sequestration opportunities—also would be equipped to produce military-grade jet fuel, naphtha, and Group 3 base oils from natural gas feedstock as part of planned future phases.

While Cerilon initially planned to commission Phase 1 of the North Dakota GTL plant in early 2023, the first phase of the project is now slated for startup in 2028, according to ABB.

Technology overview

Cerilon confirmed the North Dakota GTL plant’s GTL process to convert natural gas into ULSD, naphtha, and lubricant base oil will entail:

  • A first step involving syngas generation, where natural gas will be converted into synthesis gas.
  • A second step based on the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process, which involves a series of reactions to convert the synthesis gas into a waxy feedstock.
  • A final step applying Chevron's suite of hydroprocessing technologies tailored to treat and upgrade the unique properties of the FT feedstock into high-quality final products.