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Stranded gas: a vital resource

Over one-third of the world’s proved and probable natural gas reserves lack any immediate prospect of development for markets. At today’s rate of world consumption, of around 90 trillion cubic feet a year, they are equivalent to about 22 year’s supplies. Fred Thackeray and George Leckie examine some of the problems of, and potential solutions to accessing the undeveloped reserves

IN THE PAST three or four years, the term 'stranded gas' has come into vogue to describe discovered but undeveloped gas reserves of at least 2,000 trillion cubic feet (cf) worldwide. The term often carries the implication that the gas is not only remote, but also mainly in small deposits. It is frequently used, therefore, to promote the prospects for small-scale Fischer-Tropsch gas-to-liquids (GTLs) plants. There are about 800 small, undeveloped fields that are potential candidates for GTLs projects of up to around 10,000 barrels a day (b/d). Methanol projects may also be of growing interest to utilise small deposits, if markets develop for methanol's use as a principal source of hydrogen fo

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