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10 noviembre 2006

Qatar's 'Green Diesel' Set for Market

Qatar Prepares to Market First Shipment of Sulphur-Free Diesel Fuel, Made From Natural Gas

The $1 billion Oryx gas-to-liquids, or GTL, plant is the first in Qatar, which aims to be the world's largest GTL producer by next decade. Qatar sits atop the world's largest gas field, with about 9 percent of global proven reserves.

By the middle of the month, Oryx GTL Ltd. expected to begin producing 34,000 barrels per day of clear diesel fuel that burns with few traces of the sulfur that taints diesel fuel made from crude oil.

LNG is natural gas that is compressed by cooling it to minus-162 degrees Celsius. The frigid gas is sent aboard giant LNG tanker ships to markets in Japan, South Korea, Europe and the United States.

The more complex GTL process is based on a "synthetic fuel" discovery that converted coal into automobile fuel in 1920s Germany. Turner said the current process, which uses cobalt to convert natural gas into diesel, remains profitable with oil over $20 per barrel.

The onset of green diesel may begin to cut smog-inducing sulfur, but it won't slow global warming, which is linked to the carbon emissions from burning hydrocarbons. Experts say GTL offers only a modest cut in carbon emissions because the base product, natural gas, contains less carbon than crude oil.

Demand for clean diesel is already strong. Sulfur emissions from diesel engines cause as many as 10,000 deaths a year among Americans with heart and lung ailments, according to U.S. government figures.

Mi comentario: Buenas noticias para el medio ambiente... y para las empresas de gas!!