Uzbekistan launched its first gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant on Saturday, aiming to cut dependency on imports of oil products by converting domestically produced natural gas into valuable synthetic liquid fuels.
The project, known as UzGTL and located in the southeastern Qashqadaryo province, is worth $3.6 billion.
The plant will produce 1.5 million tons a year of synthetic liquid fuels such as kerosene, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas, production director Kidirbay Kaypnazarov said.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who attended the launch ceremony, said UzGTL would annually produce import-substituting liquid fuels worth $1.5 billion from $500 million worth of natural gas, reaching full capacity by the end of next year.
“This new innovative technology enables us to increase production of either kerosene or diesel depending on their market prices,” Mirziyoyev stated. He noted that Uzbekistan currently imports oil and gas products worth $1 billion.
The plant is intended to process 3.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year. The gas will be supplied by the nearby Shurtan gas field and processing plant.
According to officials, UzGTL is capable of producing 307,000 tons of aviation kerosene, 724,000 tons of diesel fuel, 437,000 tons of naphtha, and 53,000 tons of liquefied gas annually. The plant can operate in five different modes and adaptively increase the output of those products for which more orders have been received.
There are currently five GTL plants operating globally, including two Shell projects in Malaysia and one in Qatar, as well as a Sasol plant in South Africa and a joint venture between Sasol and Chevron in Qatar. One more GTL plant in Nigeria is currently under construction. Three more plants have been proposed in the US.