Natural Gas to Chemicals:Brasil Steps Up
The abundant naturalgas available globally can be better utilized by increasing its use as a source of chemicals in place of its predominant use as fuel today... The need to further develop these processes as well as other processes for the conversion of naturalgas to useful chemicals remains strong. _Natural Gas Conversion to Chemicals
Due to increasing gas production as a side effect of its oil boom, Brasil has been near the forefront of implementation for advanced and scalable methods of gas to liquids and gas to chemicals. Its new gas to chemicals complex in southeast Brasil aims to accelerate the rate of this important and economical substitution of cheap gas in place of more expensive crude oil.
Foster Wheeler AG has been awarded a contract by Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) for a world-scale grassroots gas-to-chemicals complex in Linhares, Espirito Santo State, southeast Brazil, called Complexo Gás-Químico UFN-IV. Foster Wheeler will provide basic engineering design (BED), front-end engineering design (FEED), and technical assistance and training during the engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) phase through to successful completion of the plant performances tests.
Foster Wheeler will act as integrator for the entire complex, managing the overall BED and FEED, including managing the process licensors and Brazilian subcontractors. The BED/FEED phase is scheduled for completion at the end of 2013.
The complex is expected to produce in excess of one million tonnes per annum (TPA) of ammonia and urea fertilizers, methanol, acetic acid, plus formic acid and melamine, helping to reduce Brazil’s imports of these products. _GCC
The most economical means of converting cheap unconventional hydrocarbons into higher value fuels and chemicals, would be to use inexpensive high quality process heat from scalable, factory-produced, gas cooled high temperature nuclear reactors. But we cannot expect to see such reactors coming off the assembly line for another 10 years, unless more enlightened political leadership takes the stage in the US and Europe.
In the meantime, natural gas will be used to fuel its own conversion to higher value fuels and chemicals, which reduces the efficiency and profitability of the overall process. Even so -- as Shell's Pearl plant in Qatar demonstrates -- GTL and gas to chemicals can be a very profitable enterprise.