NiQuan Energy has opened a Natural Gas Liquefication plant in Trinidad & Tobago with a capacity of 2,400 barrels per day to produce GTL Paraffinic Diesel and GTL Naphtha, from natural gas.
NiQuan says that this facility is the first commercial plant of its kind in the western hemisphere and one of only five commercial GTL plants currently operating in the world built exclusively for the commercial production of GTL products and using the Low Temperature Fischer-Tropsch (LTFT) process.
The GTL Plant was completed in a two-phase process with the first phase involving a complete inspection and assessment of the GTL Plant, together with the development of a detailed scope of the work required to complete the GTL Plant and bring it into operation. The first phase was completed in January 2019 and the GTL Plant commenced operations in December 2020, currently ramping up to a nominal capacity of 2,400 barrels of GTL Paraffinic Diesel and GTL Naphtha in an 80:20 split per day.
The regionally financed plant is located at Pointe-à-Pierre on the west coast of Trinidad and sits within the perimeter of the Guaracara refinery. Natural Gas is provisioned via the Trinidad and Tobago Upstream Downstream Energy Company and Petrotrin is the product offtaker.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Trinidad & Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said: “This gas-to-liquids plant is a prime example of the successful development of the country’s export potential of higher value-added products, through the collaboration of the private sector, the banking sector and the Government. Let me congratulate NiQuan and all parties involved in seeing this project through to completion. I wish NiQuan the greatest success in its future operations because its success redounds to the country’s benefit and that of all its citizens.”
Ainsley Gill, Group CEO of NiQuan Energy said: “GTL represents clean energy – a bridge from a dirty energy past to a cleaner energy future. It’s a bridge that everyone wanted to build but, for many reasons, most of them have failed. With this plant, NiQuan Energy has built the first bridge and there will be more, many more. And not just in Trinidad and Tobago and the Americas but around the world. Our clean energy products will make a difference. That’s the belief that’s driven us from day one. It’s what we promised to deliver, and we’ve kept our promise here today.”
“Originally, we conceived of a project financed internationally, the reality is that it has been financed regionally which, we believe, is a first for a major energy infrastructure project in the Caribbean,” added Gill.
The plant was built with local content of over 90% and was financed using regional resources.
The GTL Plant is a production facility that takes natural gas and turns it into high quality energy products with low emissions. It uses commercially proven Low Temperature Fischer-Tropsch (LTFT) technology in a fixed bed system.
The LTFT process is a three-stage process. The first stage consists of combining natural gas with steam in a reformer in order to create a synthetic gas, or syngas. In the second stage, this syngas is fed into the Fischer-Tropsch reactors where it is subjected to a catalytic reaction that converts it into a waxy synthetic crude, or ‘syncrude’. In the final stage, the waxy syncrude passes through the hydrocracker where it is cracked into the required product slate in a similar way to the refining of crude oil in a traditional refining process which removes pollutants and contaminants. The Fischer-Tropsch catalyst technology for the GTL Plant was provided by Emerging Fuels Technology, Inc.
GTL products are characterized by high performance and low emissions when compared to their crude-derived equivalents and other energy sources. In addition, they are also biodegradable and have low toxicity, which confers further advantages over products made from crude oil.
GTL Paraffinic Diesel
GTL Paraffinic Diesel is a clean, on-spec, compression ignition fuel (EN15940), the two primary characteristics of which are essentially a zero-sulfur content and a very high cetane rating. GTL Paraffinic Diesel offers substantial emissions reductions of sulfur dioxide and Particulate Matter (“PM,” also known as “black smoke”), making it a contender in premium markets with stringent emissions standards.
GTL diesel can be used as a transport fuel, a chemical feedstock and for other industrial applications.
GTL Naphtha is a highly paraffinic chemical feedstock/fuel blendstock and is one of the most efficient liquid feedstocks for the cracking of ethylene. It can also be used as a gasoline blending component.