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Maverick Synfuels and Petrostar Petroleum form JV for small-scale methane-to-methanol plants in Canada

8 July 2014

Maverick Synfuels and Petrostar Petroleum Corporation, a Canadian-based oil and gas exploration company, formed Maverick Northstar, Inc., a joint venture to facilitate the deployment and operation of gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology in the Canadian Provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. (Earlier post.)

The small-scale modular plants will utilize and promote technology that converts a methane-rich feedstock, such as natural gas, flare gas and biogas, into high-quality methanol, which offers new possibilities for synthetic chemicals and fuel production in Canada’s methane-rich prairie provinces.

Much of the methane in Western Canada is found in remote oil and gas fields where traditional distribution is not economically viable due to infrastructure choke points and discounted gas rates. Maverick’s modular production platform offers a small-scale solution that can be co-located at the source of the methane. The platform converts methane and higher hydrocarbons into methanol that can be used on-site or transported to larger facilities nearby for conversion into higher value products such as ultra-clean synthetic fuels and chemicals.

Maverick_Synfuels_Olefinity_Technology_Process
With the Olefinity process, olefins (2-5 carbon chains with one double bond) are produced directly using Fisher-Tropsch (FT) synthesis or indirectly using a Methanol-to-Olefins (MTO) synthesis process.Converting methane gas to methanol liquid is one component of Maverick’s “spoke and hub” distributed production strategy that builds on the Olefinity technology.

Methanol produced at small-scale GTL plants (“spokes”) located at the waste gas source is easily transportable to larger “hub” facilities, where it can be converted to higher value products such as clean transportation fuels including Dimethyl ether, diesel and jet fuel, or specialty chemicals like propylene using Maverick’s olefins-based processes. This approach significantly reduces capital requirements for converting low-value feedstocks such as waste methane into higher value products.

Maverick has contracted with Plant Process Equipment to manufacture and sell small-scale gas-to-liquids plants (GTL). These modular plants are mounted on skids and can be quickly transported and installed remotely, even in difficult-to-access terrain. The plants can produce up to 10,000 gallons a day of methanol from methane-rich waste gas, or natural gas sources.

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Comments

Flared gas is a substantial resource:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/business/energy-environment/oil-companies-are-sued-over-natural-gas-flaring-in-north-dakota.html?_r=0

It was calculated that there is enough flared natural gas in the world to power Germany. If they run their rigs on it they don't have to process it nor transport it.

I think even the "power Germany" estimate is low. It is a LOT of gas. As I have mentioned before, flying over Western oil fields today doesn't look any different than it did in the 70's. A pity.

Utilizing the fuel isn't quite as easy as just routing it to an engine, as particulates, water, slugs of various HC liquids, etc. add some challenges. But good grief --- the same companies that are running the projects in the fields are often doing separation and treatment somewhere else. It's not like the expertise is unavailable.

If I were to grit my teeth and close my eyes really tight, this is one place I could see an appropriate regulatory action to FINALLY drive solutions that are truly, genuinely available that would make a significant difference to production and refining processes. The industry will not do this on their own.

I guess some people have to pretend the are more right than others. Join the EP cub.

No, SJC --- I was genuinely agreeing. In general, the negative appraisals of petroleum extraction and processing are too pessimistic. In this case I thought they might even be too lenient, in which case I mean you are REALLY right. Seriously -- I am hyper-agreeing.

The gas gets flared because the cost of converting it to a shipppable product and transporting it is more than what it sells for.  If skid-mounted plants like this can change the economics, GREAT!  It was a big resource going begging, just waiting for someone to find a way to make use of it.

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