Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Natural Gas to Gasoline at Half the Price

Imagine if we could take cheap, plentiful natural gas, stir in some pixie dust, and turn it into gasoline.
A startup Siluria thinks they have the magic dust to make that happen. Siluria takes natural gas and through a process using proprietary catalysts, converts it to ethylene (C2H4) which can then be converted to gasoline at half the price of current gasoline.
If Siluria can make the catalyst cheap enough and it lasts long enough, it will change the landscape of the oil industry and political world. Then, with the additional oil from unconventional sources we will get the following:
  1. The price of oil, of course, will fall a little. It will then slide quite a bit, as producers rush to sell their oil before the next guy. Think buyers market. Think $30 oil.
  2. The price of natural gas will rise reacting to the increased demand. Currently, drillers don't go for "dry gas", that is gas wells without oil, but with the rising price drillers will go for even more gas wells.
  3. Companies extracting expensive oil will start to suffer, like the tar sands in Canada.
  4. Countries depending significantly on oil exports, will become unstable. Russia comes to mind - without the oil revenue to paper over their inefficiencies, the government will be in trouble.
  5. The Middle East will cease to be such a focus of all the oil hungry countries.
  6. Israel will benefit, since many of its enemies are oil-funded, and it has natural gas off its coast.

Many companies have tried this Gas-to-Liquids path and been unsuccessful. Many are trying right now.
I'm rooting for Siluria and hoping they will be able to realize its dream.
This will buy us some time until ultra-capacitors can be designed to power our electric cars of the future.

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