BP's GTL experiment deemed a great success

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

A new odorless fuel, as clear as water with the texture of wax, synthesized from natural gas, is actually being delivered today to the Tesoro Plant from the BP Gas To Liquids (GTL) facility in Nikiski.

According to Paul Richards, BP's Operations Manager at the GTL plant, it's the most important breakthrough in 30 years for the energy industry. "It took a lot of teamwork from a lot very dedicated people all the way through the last year to take this plant out of the construction stage through commissioning it to operations," Richards told a recent meeting of the Kenai Chapter of the Alliance. Richards said the project went beyond the engineers and construction team and into the community as well, "There were a lot of people we were able to call on very late at night, holidays and weekends and they were able to bring us out what we needed in order to make this the success that the project has been to date. Especially Agrium, we've been able to ring up their facilities direct and call on them to help us out in the middle of the night with things we needed," said Richards.

The new technology only presented minimal glitches, while the major challenges to completing the project came from the old technologies such as seals, according to Richards. BP will not be finished with the facility until they complete their testing on the new process, and no time line has been given for that, "We have put timelines out there in the past saying we will finish something by a certain date, and we have learned from that mistake. We are moving on and we will finish the technology as soon as possible to move it into commercialization, but we don't really have a timeline for that right now," said Richards. When finished the plant will be disassembled and the site restored. Richards is elated with the success of the project, "It has been absolutely fantastic to be able to see this come through from being a vision and being able to say, yes, this is what we were aiming for, we have actually realized our vision. It makes all those long days, long nights and long weekends very, very worthwhile. It's simply fantastic," beamed Richards.

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