Commercial Demonstration Plant

The Petrobras owned and operated demonstration plant at Aracaju, Brazil, demonstrates the world’s first fully integrated small scale GTL facility, at 200,000scf/d capacity.

The US$45 million contract between Petrobras and CGTL, confirmed in July 2008, included the design, engineering, procurement, construction and testing of the large scale plant. The plant was delivered on schedule and on budget with costs covered in full by Petrobras. Importantly, CGTL utilized its selected supply chain partners for the manufacture of the SMR and FT reactors, namely Sumitomo Precision Products for reactor supply and Johnson Matthey for the supply of the process catalysts.

The plant is located at a Petrobras Research Centre (CENPES) coastal terminal facility. This facility allows good access to actual associated gas feeds from nearby offshore oilfields as well as the required local utilities. The plant itself occupies an area of about 20m x 15m.

Following initial start-up at the end of 2010, CGTL received technology approval from Petrobras, at the end of 2011, after a period of testing that covered all conceivable feed gas compositions.

The demonstration plant incorporates all the required aspects of a CGTL commercial plant in a fully integrated process:

  • Gas pre-treatment
  • Pre-reforming
  • CGTL SMR process
  • Waste heat recovery
  • Process steam generation
  • Syngas compression
  • CGTL 2-stage Fischer Tropsch process
  • FT cooling water system
  • Tail gas recycling

The demonstration plant has proven CGTL’s technology for all aspects of commercial application, as recognised by Petrobras.

In particular, the plant coped exceptionally well with the dynamic conditions of the associated gas feed as well as other aspects such as unplanned utility outages which are typical of the real operating conditions that are experienced in an oilfield production environment.

Notable successes from the operation of the demonstration plant include:

  • The plant was successfully commissioned with no major problems in an exceptionally short timescale, given it was “first of a kind” technology.
  • The operation of the plant established confidence in the reliability, robustness and up-scaling potential of the CGTL process.
  • The overall plant has coped well with the dynamic conditions of the associated gas supply provided in Brazil, proving that the configuration is well suited to oilfield operating conditions.
  • The measured performance of the plant has been high
  • The synthetic crude product has been successfully blended with crude oil and delivered to a nearby refinery for processing.
  • The plant has an excellent HSE record.

For Petrobras, the primary interest is for the commercial application of CGTL’s technology integrated with Extended Well Test vessels (EWT) and early production Floating, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facilities.

The CGTL plant, fully integrated with the complete floating facility, will convert all associated gas into synthetic crude for mixing with the produced crude.

This circumvents increasingly tight flaring limits in Brazil and boosts oil production.

Critically, for these applications, CGTL has achieved Approval in Principal (AIP) from DNV, an independent certification body, for the use of its modular GTL systems offshore.

Currently CompactGTL remains the only small scale GTL company that has had its technology approved for commercial use by Petrobras.