This blog looks at the flare gas monetisation and reinjection opportunity that is Gas to Liquid (GTL) technology, specifically the creation and use of synethesis gas and synthetic crude oil.
Syngas, or synthesis gas, is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, and is created by gasification or steam reformation. This involves reacting the raw materials, such as natural gas or coal, with steam or oxygen at very high temperatures of around 1000°C. In the case of using natural gas as the raw element, steam is used.
There are a few applications for syngas including the generation of power and heat. This is done in power plants via steam cycles through gas engines and turbines. Any power or heat produced is used in the other plant processes, reducing reliance on energy resources and saving on costs associated with those.
Synthetic gas is also commonly used in the petrochemical industry to create hydrogen, ammonia and methanol.
Using Fischer-Tropsch technology, syngas that was created using natural gas can be turned directly into liquid fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet-fuel. Due to the progress in domestic electric vehicles, synthetic fuel is a popular alternative for commercial ships and aircrafts, where electric options aren’t yet viable.
Fischer-Tropsch technology can also be used to turn syngas into synthetic crude oil.
Synthetic crude oil
Synthetic crude is a product of the process of recovering and processing bitumen from oil sands. Syncrude can also be made from syngas via Fischer-Tropsch processes. The raw syncrude can then be upgraded by adding hydrogen to create marketable products. Syncrude can be used in the same way as usual crude oil and has some advantages over conventional oil when used as a fuel.
As with most GTL products, syncrude must be stored and transported, relying on costly infrastructure. However, there are opportunities for this process to be available on a smaller scale, becoming an option for smaller gas fields where traditional LNG and GTL options aren’t applicable. In some cases, syncrude can be created at the point of crude oil production, and fed back into the main crude stream, eliminating any need for storage or transportation.
Meter your flare gas for maximum monetisation
Metering your flare gas allows for accurate information, so you know just how much natural gas you’re flaring and how much could be recovered – whether for reinjection or for converting into a saleable product to be monetised.
Not only can flare gas recovery lead to a saleable product, it also reduces flaring and in turn any fines associated with this due to legal regulations. These regulations also demand accurate and reliable flare gas metering.
Our FGM 160 meter uses ultrasonic technology, the most accurate way to measure flare gas, and can measure flow with an accuracy of +/-1%. Typically, the accuracy demanded by regulators is +/-5%. As well as ensuring you meet flare regulations, metering flare gas can help ensure efficiency. Measuring the gas that’s being sent to flare can help you make informed decisions regarding the volume of gas being flared, and if instead that gas could be recovered and used in the process of creating syngas – for monetisation or reinjection.