Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Go on with energy discussions, Jerôme, I'm interested.

Dealing with the future of gas, have you been looking into that kind of things, I think it's big:

Sasol Chevron Embarks on Unique South Africa to Qatar Challenge to Test GTL Fuel

The team has been challenged by Sasol Chevron to complete the 11,000 km
journey, across six countries in Africa and some of the toughest conditions on
the planet, in 46 days, arriving in Doha, Qatar by 5th June for the official
opening of the US$950 million ORYX GTL production facility.


A joint venture between the state-owned petroleum company Qatar Petroleum
(51%) and Sasol (49%), ORYX GTL in Qatar is the first low-temperature  
Fischer-Tropsch GTL plant outside South Africa dedicated to the production of
new generation GTL diesel and the world's first commercial GTL facility. The
plant will use Sasol's proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology. London-based
Sasol Chevron will market the high-quality, environmentally-friendly
GTL diesel worldwide later this year.


The ORYX GTL plant will scale up over the next few months to convert gas
from the North Field in the Gulf into 34,000 bpd of liquid hydrocarbons
(mainly GTL diesel). In conjunction with Sasol Chevron and Qatar Petroleum,
the intention is to increase the plant's capacity to more than 100,000 bpd.
The partners are also exploring building an integrated GTL plant with a
capacity of about 130,000 bpd in the future.

Basically, it's the switch to non-oil, synthetic, liquid fuels, now happening. Engineers knew it was cost-effective for oil > 50$ a barrel, and with the future market for oil now testifying that you can build a 5-year business plan on this assumption, the big oilcos are going at it bit time.

(Extra fun to note: they are ripping off Iran of its gas, since North Field = South Pars, dug from the other side of the gulf :-) So Mahmoud should bomb the plant quickly if he is sensible !)

Check the public presentation slides on the SasonChevrol web site: Qatar is no their only project, also Algeria, Russia... And they mention their competitors as well, overall a significant proportion of Europe's diesel fuel could be produced from gas in 2012.

Considering that it takes something like 3 barrels of oil to make a barrel of diesel fuel, it should also have a weightable impact on the oil market (easing tensions).

I checked from a few technical figures they give on the website: the energy yield is about 53% (of the Joules in the gas that end up in the diesel, the rest being lost in the process or trapped in the naphta tails). So it compares well with liquefaction (costs something like 30% of the energy, correct me if I'm wrong): both make gas storable and transportable by tankers, and GTL also makes it usable in cars, straight out of the plant.

by Pierre on Sun Apr 30th, 2006 at 11:47:39 AM EST
This seems very promising Pierre.  Thanks for linking me to this, and then to the links provided above.  The white paper seems very good and thorough.  It's particularly good because it leverages so much of the existing infrastructure.  I guess it would be an easier conversion for EU since they are far ahead of US in % diesel use,,,,but still, even in the US a very doable conversion.

It certainly would be worth a diary, if one hasn't already been done.  But thanks for this--very helpful for me in raising my knowledge in this area.

by wchurchill on Mon May 1st, 2006 at 02:18:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, actually this has been cross-posted multiple times today, and it turns out that Jerôme already wrote a diary on this a year ago in DKos, but the URL is in yet another story, the nuclear renaissance one: DKos diary here.

As Jerôme said, the long term impacts deserve a long discussion (like possibly I imagine: binding tightly the costs of oil and gas - slowing the rise of oil and accelerating that of gas, changing notably the application mix of gas - and increasing consumption, thus depleting gas faster than anticipated - and making (dieselized-)gas a more global market than it presently is, with expensive barriers between continents).

by Pierre on Mon May 1st, 2006 at 04:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Top Diaries

Occasional Series