The principal driver of our work is superior economics. The technology for direct coupling of methane to ethylene ("OCM") will allow us and our partners to take advantage of the gas/oil price parity discount, historically in the 60-70% range in markets with access to both feedstocks.
Over the long term, the economic benefits of a global feedstock switch from oil to natural gas can be as profound as the consequences of the feedstock switch from wood to coal in the 19th century, and from coal to oil in the 20th century.
Our technology will also have significant environmental benefits for the following reasons:
" The incumbent technology, steam cracking, is highly endothermic. While highly optimized over the last 70 years, steam cracking requires a lot of energy and produces 1.5-2 lb CO2 per pound of product, for a total of ~200 million tons of CO2 per year globally. Most of this CO2 is the result of burning fuel (natural gas) to heat the cracking furnace
" In contrast, our technology is exothermic. It produces energy rather than requiring it, and this energy can be used elsewhere in the plant, thus reducing the overall energy budget.
" In addition to the above, our process uses natural gas instead of oil, and the overall environmental footprint of natural gas production is lower than that of oil.
" Other likely process differences in favor of Siluria's approach include reduction in emissions of nitric oxide, heavy metals and sulfur.
Eoin Treacy's view Shale gas is a game changer for the energy and chemical sectors because it introduces an abundant new source of supply in a politically secure part of the world. As a result, the US traded contract has been rangebound between $4 and $6, as supply has outpaced demand by a wide margin. In such a scenario, it is inevitable that an enterprising method will be found to profit from the spread between oil and natural gas prices. The above article appears to be a step in that direction.Back to top