February 02, 2018

A Look into the Future of XTL Projects

Stratas Advisors

This excerpt is from a report that is available to subscribers of Stratas Advisors’ Global Refining & Products service.

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Only a handful of XTL projects outside of China are expected to enter construction within the next three years. These include a BTL facility in France, a WTL facility in Canada, and GTL facilities in Uzbekistan and the US.



The BioTfueL project is well-supported, funded by a consortium of Total, CEA, IFP Energies Nouvelles, Avril, and ThyssenKrupp Industrial. The project will transform lignocellulosic biomass (straw, forest waste, dedicated energy crops) into biofuel via thermochemical conversion. The partners’ goal is to develop an end-to-end set of processes for producing second-generation biodiesel and biojet fuel.

After five years of R&D, the BioTfueL project has started building a demonstrator platform that is scheduled to come on stream in 2017. Total chose to install the gasification and synthesis units at the Flandres site in Dunkirk (France) to support local economic development. The full-scale commercial project will not launch until 2020.

The project will use Uhde's proprietary PRENFLO gasification process with direct quench. The overall budget for the BioTfueL project is $117.8 million.



VANERCO is a joint venture formed by Enerkem and GreenField Specialty Alcohols to build Quebec’s first full-scale cellulosic ethanol facility. This follows Enerkem’s 2015 launch of its commercial-scale waste-to-liquids (ethanol and methanol) facility in Edmonton, Alberta. VANERCO will use Enerkem’s exclusive technology to produce cellulosic ethanol from non-recyclable waste from institutional, commercial and industrial sectors as well as construction and demolition debris.

The VANERCO facility will be located on the site of GreenField’s current first-generation ethanol facility. Site preparation has started. Construction should begin in 2017. The small-scale facility (600 b/d) will provide a further demonstration of the viability of Enerkem’s bubbling fluidized bed gasification facility. The facility is expected online in 2020.



During 2009, an MOU was signed by Sasol (44.5%), Petronas (11%) and Uzbekneftegaz (44.5%) to assist in GTL opportunities in the country and maximize resource utilization of Uzbekistan’s 60 Tcf of gas reserves. A study was planned to evaluate the feasibility of a 30,000 b/d plant running on Sasol proprietary technology to convert natural gas into liquid fuels. The Phase I study was completed in 2010; the Phase II feasibility study is in progress.

At the end of the FEED phase, Sasol plans to reduce its share from 44.5% to 25.5%. The plant is expected to cost US$4.1 billion. After completion, it will process 3.5 billion m3 of natural gas and produce 14,000 b/d of diesel, 6,000 b/d of jet fuel, 8,000 b/d of naphtha and 2,000 b/d of LPG. We anticipate a start timeframe from 2019 to 2022.


Following the commercialization of its technology at a ~300 b/d landfill gas to liquids facility in East Oak, near Enid, Okla., Velocys is planning to secure funding for a 5,000 b/d GTL unit at Ashtabula, Ohio. ENVIA Energy's Oklahoma City GTL project is located adjacent to Waste Management's East Oak landfill site and will use a combination of landfill gas and natural gas as feedstock.

ENVIA Energy is a joint venture that was announced in March 2014 to produce renewable fuels and chemicals from biogas and natural gas using GTL. Given current projected commodity market projections, the company will seek to supply high value specialty chemicals markets. Thus, a significant portion of its product slate is likely to produce waxes, rather than middle distillates. Much of the existing site selection and preparation work at Ashtabula (formerly Pinto Energy GTL) is transferable to a gas-to-wax plant.

The plant will deploy a number of Velocys full-scale commercial Fischer-Tropsch reactors. It completed the manufacture of these reactors in mid-2015. On-site loading of catalyst into the Fischer-Tropsch reactors has been completed by Velocys with support from Mourik, a specialist in catalyst handling. In the first half of 2016, Velocys secured additional funding provision for the project, which we assess as being online in the 2021 timeframe.

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