TULSA COMPANY MAKES SYNTROLEUM
Courtesy of Steve Roen
William MacDonald, "Gas Reaction," Financial Times, 4 Feb 1997.
Syntroleum, a Tulsa, Oklahoma company founded in 1984, makes synthetic crude oil from natural gas at competitive prices to oil at $15 to $20 per barrel.
The article reports that Texaco has licensed to develop this technology. The process is an improvement on the Fischer-Tropsch process used by Germany during the second world war and also used by South Africa to make Sasol. A plant to produce 5,000 bpd is planned to be completed within the next six months. Natural gas is more plentiful than crude oil and is expensive to ship. Turning the natural gas into synthetic crude oil could be one method of extending the life of existing oil fields.
From the viewpoint of new-energy technology, synthetic crude oil is still a fossil fuel, still would cause pollution, and is not deemed to be a real threat to the rapid development of new-energy inventions. However, if the process can produce synthetic crude oil at competitive prices, the process should be rapidly commercialized in the United States so as to reduce the enormous outflow of dollars going to the foreign oil-producing countries.
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Mar. 17, 1997.