Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fighting Flaring: Company Wants to Offer Mobile Gas-to-Crude Facilities

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Fighting Flaring: Company Wants to Offer Mobile Gas-to-Crude Facilities

Article excerpt

BROKEN ARROW - In remote places such as North Dakota and Montana, natural gas is sometimes burned at the top of a tower because there's no way to pipe it to a processing plant and then market it.

Yet Broken Arrow's Emerging Fuels Technology Inc. has a method to turn the gas into synthetic crude oil, creating an additional fuel source. It wants to give energy companies small-scale plants that can go anywhere.

"Flaring is a huge problem," said Mark Agee, EFT's vice president of business development.

Because of shale plays like the Bakken, the United States has gone from being ranked 14th in the world in 2007 in the amount of gas flared to fifth in 2011, Agee said.

Besides flaring, at some sites natural gas is allowed to escape directly into the atmosphere. The technique, called venting, is believed to be an environmental problem as harmful as flaring. Each practice releases either carbon dioxide or methane. Both are key greenhouse gases considered by some to be sources of global warming.

Worldwide, the amount of flared gas would make 1.5 million barrels per day of synthetic crude oil, Agee said.

EFT produces synthetic fuels and specialty products from a variety of carbon-based feedstocks such as natural gas, biomass, municipal solid waste and coal. The company is an authority in Fischer-Tropsch chemistry, the core technology in the process of turning these raw materials into usable fuel products.

The company has designed and manufactured standardized modular and skid-mounted small-scale gas-to-liquid plants capable of producing 500 barrels of synthetic crude oil daily. The goal is to keep the cost of each facility under $50 million, Agee said. EFT is testing the product and eventually hopes to license it, allowing customization of mobile gas-to-liquid facilities.

Anywhere gas is flared is a potential site, Agee said.

"And in the U.S., there are pockets of stranded gas all over," Agee said.

In addition, the plants create a liquid fuel that can be dropped into the crude oil supply and sent through the existing distribution system, said John Kingston, director of news for Platts, a unit of McGraw Hill Financial.

"Even if they are producing a few hundred barrels a day, it is a renewable supply that displaces conventional petroleum," Kingston said. …

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