"How Engine Oil is Made From Natural Gas"

Nick1994

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Well I'm sure a lot of you guys have seen Scotty Kilmer's YouTube videos, no they aren't the greatest thing out there but they do help a lot of people figure out some simple car problems step by step pretty well. Well a lot better than I could do it. Well apparently he went and interviewed Pennzoil on some of the process they do to make their new line of oil from natural gas. It isn't the most scientific and detailed video out there but I'm sure some of you oil nerds will enjoy it.
 
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Not a petroleum engineer, but just wondering about this. Have always read that Group IV PAO's are primarily made from ethylene gas, which is primarily derived from natural gas, how is the GTL thing much different, or is it a play on words, so to speak? Or is it just a variation on the same process? And what, if anything, makes them really any different?
 
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IIRC, the shell process is natural gas to methanol to pure iso paraffin with a few step before and in between. Many Shell Katar GTL videos can be dug up that go in detail. The oil seems to work VERY well in my Honda and the Subaru hasn't required any top off as it had with Idemitsu or M1 or QSUD.
 
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That PU 5w20 was sweet running stuff...The PUP 10w30 is not quite as good in the EJ25 soviet tractor series(STS) engine. I have a similar GTL process in my digestive track after a night out and Taco Bell with Fire sauce. Small world. I didn't know the process required hydrocracking but it does make sense.
 
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Ding ding! It's not. You could make synthetic oil from carbon dioxide and water if you wanted, feedstocks are irrelevant in terms of chemistry. You chose your synthesis starting materials based on price, the energy burden of the conversion pathway, toxicity, availability, and again, price. If it is cheaper to synthesize oil from natural gas than it is to hydrocrack crude oil then that is what they will do. Shell is awash in natural gas in Qatar, so this is for them the most cost-effective way to produce. Now the upside is that using gas will keep the process cleaner and will require less purification than going the other way around.
Originally Posted By: TiredTrucker
Not a petroleum engineer, but just wondering about this. Have always read that Group IV PAO's are primarily made from ethylene gas, which is primarily derived from natural gas, how is the GTL thing much different, or is it a play on words, so to speak? Or is it just a variation on the same process? And what, if anything, makes them really any different?
 
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What is the final product from Shell's GTL? Is it a hydrocarbon? I'm thinking it is (rather than a polyalphaolefin) since they keep saying it is a "liquid product", and they are making more than oils. I mean oil isn't the sole product goal, all sorts of complex hydrocarbons are being made.
 
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As crude oil prices skyrocket they could start converting methane into gasoline.
 
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Originally Posted By: kschachn
What is the final product from Shell's GTL? Is it a hydrocarbon? I'm thinking it is (rather than a polyalphaolefin) since they keep saying it is a "liquid product", and they are making more than oils. I mean oil isn't the sole product goal, all sorts of complex hydrocarbons are being made.
Hydrocarbons are any molecule made up of hydrogen and carbon. They can be chains or rings and have many combinations of single, double, or triple carbon to carbon bonds with the rest of the available spots filled by hydrogen. They can form straight chains, branched chains or rings. (single bonded are called alkanes, formerly paraffin; Double bonded are called alkenes, formerly olefins; triple bonded are called alkynes) If all the carbons are single bonded to other carbons then the molecule is saturated. If it has one or more double (or triple) carbon bonds it is unsaturated) An olefin has a double bond. If the first carbon of the chain (the alpha carbon) is double bonded to the beta carbon, it is an alpha-olefin. Using alpha-olefin monomers and linking them to become a polymer yields poly-alpha-olefins. (there is a lot more to it, of course!) The liquid product of SOPUS GTL is going to be hydrocarbons with a molecular weight (size) large enough to be a liquid at standard temperature (basically room temp). But since few synthetic processes are 100% perfect, the product is undoubtedly a mixture that requires distillation or some sort of "cleaning up".
 
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seen some specs on GTL oil, its good but still falls short of PAO oil. for sure the most profit is key, not the best but a better oil, time will tell
 
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Well yeah, I do know that, I have a minor in chemistry. Not enough to know a lot just enough to be dangerous. I just wondered about Shell's process.
Originally Posted By: Jiblet
Hydrocarbons are any molecule made up of hydrogen and carbon. They can be chains or rings and have many combinations of single, double, or triple carbon to carbon bonds with the rest of the available spots filled by hydrogen. They can form straight chains, branched chains or rings. (single bonded are called alkanes, formerly paraffin; Double bonded are called alkenes, formerly olefins; triple bonded are called alkynes) If all the carbons are single bonded to other carbons then the molecule is saturated. If it has one or more double (or triple) carbon bonds it is unsaturated) An olefin has a double bond. If the first carbon of the chain (the alpha carbon) is double bonded to the beta carbon, it is an alpha-olefin. Using alpha-olefin monomers and linking them to become a polymer yields poly-alpha-olefins. (there is a lot more to it, of course!) The liquid product of SOPUS GTL is going to be hydrocarbons with a molecular weight (size) large enough to be a liquid at standard temperature (basically room temp). But since few synthetic processes are 100% perfect, the product is undoubtedly a mixture that requires distillation or some sort of "cleaning up".
 
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They could and from what Shell says on their website, they can.
Originally Posted By: Dominic
As crude oil prices skyrocket they could start converting methane into gasoline.
 
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Originally Posted By: Dominic
As crude oil prices skyrocket they could start converting methane into gasoline.
They do already, it's called Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) which converts gases generated during the refining process into gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, etc., using a catalyst. Similar process converting natural gas to gasoline. I used to work for Chevron at the refinery.
 
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"I mean oil isn't the sole product goal, all sorts of complex hydrocarbons are being made" Yup...Basically the process is: C1-C4 -> C>4
 
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Originally Posted By: benjy
seen some specs on GTL oil, its good but still falls short of PAO oil. for sure the most profit is key, not the best but a better oil, time will tell
How does it fall short exactly? PAO's aren't all that great as far as solubility of the additive package nor are they all that good at cleaning up an engines internals. Sure they have amazing cold flow characteristics. We have a product available from co-op. Its a synthetic 0w-40,dual rated diesel/gasoline,its cheap when compared to major brands so called "faux" synthetic and it claims 100% PAO. The 100% pao part kinda has me scratching my head here. From what I've learned here at bitog a pure pao formulation isn't desirable which then leads me to my next question which is what am I missing.
 
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I think GTL ascends tall of PAO...I think ExxonMobil does as well. When crude is over about $60, GTL oil gets cheap when your freedstock is basically free (They would just vent-off the gas at the well otherwise).
 
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Originally Posted By: Clevy
We have a product available from co-op. Its a synthetic 0w-40,dual rated diesel/gasoline,its cheap when compared to major brands so called "faux" synthetic and it claims 100% PAO.
I'm just thinking PAO is major overkill for most PCMOs these days, particularly generic SN/GF-5 A5/B5 types. The Co-op isn't the only one saving the PAO stuff mostly for HDEOs.
 
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Originally Posted By: anndel
Originally Posted By: Dominic
As crude oil prices skyrocket they could start converting methane into gasoline.
They do already, it's called Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) which converts gases generated during the refining process into gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, etc., using a catalyst. Similar process converting natural gas to gasoline. I used to work for Chevron at the refinery.
In addition, there is the Fischer-Tropsch process (and similar methods) which converts a mix of natural gas and coal into oils and fuels.
 
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