Syntroleum Corporation has signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture with Bluewater Energy Services B.V., intended to develop and finance the building of the world's first air-based gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant on an offshore floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel that could also produce oil and offer storage capabilities.
The purpose of the joint venture is to develop, construct, own and operate GTL/Oil FPSO vessels. The companies are working together to identify projects that will allow the joint venture to participate in the upstream development of oil and gas reserves and the downstream processing of those at offshore locations. A detailed feasibility study conducted by the companies has addressed a design of up to 17,000 barrels per day of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) products, 40,000 barrel per day of crude oil, and 10,000 barrels per day of condensate on a FPSO vessel, which would include around 2.3 million barrels of storage capacity. The GTL/Oil FPSO study follows Syntroleum's work with its GTL barge concept for shallow water. The terms of the joint venture contemplate that both Bluewater and Syntroleum will contribute equity to the financing of the first vessel. Together, they are identifying equity partners to participate in development of this business model and the financing of the first GTL/Oil FPSO.
By using this GTL/Oil FPSO technology concept, companies can develop offshore gas reserves that otherwise would be uneconomical and in the process avoid costs of reinjection of natural gas back into the reservoir. Both companies expect that engineering, design and construction costs will decrease for successive vessels, which has occurred with other new processing technologies as with liquefied natural gas. Furthermore, Syntroleum continues to make significant strides in advancing and improving its technology. In 2005, as a direct result of work at its Catoosa Demonstration Facility, Syntroleum was able to increase its single train capacity from 12,000 barrels per day to 17,000 barrels of ultra clean products per day. Recent experience at the plant indicates the company can achieve a rate of up to 25,000 barrels per day of GTL products in a single train.