A joint demonstration testing agreement (JDTA) between the microchannel reactor specialists, Velocys, Inc., the US subsidiary of Oxford Catalysts; offshore facility developers, MODEC; the global engineering firm Toyo Engineering; and the Brazilian State oil company Petrobras (earlier post) will result in a 5-10 barrel/day (bpd) gas-to-liquids (GTL) demonstration facility including a microchannel steam methane reformer (SMR) along with a microchannel Fischer-Tropsch (FT) reactor.
The demonstration plant, which is expected to be up and running by early 2011, will be constructed by Toyo Engineering with support from MODEC and installed at the Petrobras facility in Fortaleza, Brazil. The FT and SMR microchannel reactors will be fabricated by Kobe Steel Ltd.
Gas produced along with oil is often disposed of by flaring or by re-injection back into the reservoir at considerable expense. The development of small scale gas to liquids (GTL) facilities based on the use of microchannel reactors and designed for use on offshore platforms could make it possible to turn this unwanted associated gas into an energy asset, and make flaring and re-injection of gas obsolete.
Following successful demonstration, this technology is expected to be used by MODEC, Toyo and Velocys on the commercial floating production, storage and offloading vessels (FPSOs) used in the development of offshore oil and gas fields.
Microchannel technology provides a number of advantages for offshore GTL. Not only does it accelerate SMR by 200-fold and FT reactions by 10-15 fold. It also greatly reduces the size of key pieces of equipment and makes it possible for a GTL facility to be located on a floating vessel.
—Tom Hickey, President at Velocys