Turkmenistan starts building gas-to-gasoline plant

A groundbreaking ceremony was held this week in Ovadan-Depe near the capital of Ashgabad in Turkmenistan to launch the construction of a major plant focused on the conversion of natural gas into synthetic gasoline.

The plant will be based on Haldor Topsoe’s TIGAS (Topsoe improved gasoline synthesis) technology and will become the first full-scale, large commercial facility using this technology.

TIGAS makes it possible to produce high quality, high value gasoline from natural gas, shale gas, associated gas, coal, pet coke or even biomass," said Bjerne S. Clausen, CEO at Haldor Topsoe. 

"The plant in Turkmenistan is extremely important to us, because it is the first large scale project in the world where we can showcase how our technology can help a nation with huge natural gas reserves monetize their natural resources by diversifying beyond conventional gas markets into transportation fuels."

The plant has been awarded by the national gas company Turkmengas, and Topsoe will be working alongside the Japanese contractor Kawasaki Heavy Industry and the Turkish contractor Rönesans Turkmen to engineer and construct the facility.

The plant will be become operational in approximately four years from now, with a production capacity of 15,500 bpd of synthetic gasoline.

Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states and is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest, Uzbekistan to the northeast and east, Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, and the Caspian Sea to the west.

It possesses the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas, yet its geographical characteristics and difficult access to infrastructure including gas pipelines has made it a challenge to fully leverage this huge natural resource to propel economic development.

“We believe TIGAS is fully viable as a gas monetization option for Turkmenistan and others, and we also believe it represents a monetization alternative for other gas rich countries in the world," said Clausen. "With this new reference, we have clearly demonstrated that Topsoe has added another strong technology to its gas monetization portfolio."

Synthetic gasoline is a competitive alternative to refinery gasoline and new energy carriers. Unlike DME, methanol and ethanol, synthetic gasoline meets existing gasoline standards so it can be used as a ‘drop-in’ fuel.

This means that production can take place far from refineries, the existing infrastructure can be used for distribution, and car engines can use it as fuel without modification.

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