Future fuels and lubricant base oils from Shell Gas to Liquids (GTL) technology 2005-01-2191
Shell was the first oil marketer to bring to commercial scale, Gas to Liquids (GTL) technology for fuels and base oils production. This started with the commissioning of the multi-purpose GTL facility at Bintulu, Malaysia in 1993. The plant produces both automotive gas oil (GTL Fuel) as well as a number of speciality products including detergent feedstocks, a range of Fisher-Tropsch commercial wax grades, and a feedstock for base oils production.
The base oil feedstock has been shipped to Shell facilities in Japan and France since 1994 where it is solvent de-waxed to produce the first commercially available GTL base oils. The GTL Fuel is currently being used in premium diesels in Germany, Greece and Thailand.
Shell has announced in 2003 its intention to build two world scale GTL trains in Qatar and this will include substantial fuels and base oils facilities. The diesel cut is characterised by very good cetane quality, low density, plus negligible sulphur and aromatics contents; such properties make it potentially valuable as a fuel with lower emissions than conventional automotive gas oil, either as a standalone fuel or in blends.
The base oils will cover a wide grade range with the majority of volume being API Group III grades of 4 cSt and above. These base oil grades will show the superior additive responses expected from 100% saturates catalytically de-waxed base oils.