Syngas can be produced from natural gas by separating the methane proportion and oxidise it in a steam-reforming process. Therefore, oil and gas firms such as Total, Exxon or BP will most likely have to cooperate closely with chemical companies on the gas upstream market. Not only will they need process chemicals and agents but also the know-how and expertise for an all-new petrochemical value chain, analysts believe.
The Water Challenge
The scale of the gas production brings another problem: In the Marcellus region alone, the amount of waste water from gas fields has increased by 570 % since 2004 as a result of the shale gas production. “We need to come up with technological and logistical solutions to address these concerns,” agrees Martin Doyle, professor of river science at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. New solutions have to be tailored specially to the needs of the gas industry: As most wells are only used temporary, experts predict a boom in flexible and mobile water treatment setups. The technologies used must be both versatile and able to clean a lot of different contaminants, including chemicals.
“There are key opportunities for chemical companies to develop unique solutions for the specific problems we are dealing with,” Mbogoro says. Market volumes for chemical auxiliaries have grown significantly, yet many issues remain unsolved: The environmental impact, the treatment of wastewater and brine or the dependency on distinctive auxiliaries for fracking fluids still offer huge chances for innovation. ●
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