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The proposed Alaskan natural gas to liquids (GTL) plant utilizes microchannel technology for both steam-methane reforming and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. A natural gas feed of 21.8 million standard cubic feet per hour is sent to a microchannel steam reformer, where it reacts with steam to produce a mixture comprised mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, or syngas. The syngas proceeds to another microchannel reactor, in which the Fischer-Tropsch reaction converts it to hydrocarbons. Approximately 117,600 bbl/day of C5+ liquid hydrocarbons (25.86% gasoline, 24.78% diesel, 21.40% naphtha, 21.72% C20+, 6.25% other) are recovered and fed to the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System for delivery to the North American market. The product contains little wax and few impurities and has an above average quality.

Using a 13% discount rate, the project yields a positive 25-year Net Present Value of $708 million in 2009 and a 14.96% Internal Rate of Return, suggesting that the project has the potential to be an attractive investment. The most promising alternative to the GTL project is the construction of a natural gas pipeline, which would commence operation no sooner than 2019.

The project’s economic feasibility depends most strongly on the product’s selling price, which is tied to the price of oil. The project is also capital-intensive and therefore sensitive to the final capital investment. Sensitivity analysis has been done on both of these factors.



Date Posted: 04 December 2009