DALLAS, February 5 /PRNewswire/ --
- Large Equity Investment from Kuwait Announced Today
Just as oil is reaching the US$100 per barrel mark, Dallas-based Synfuels International, Inc. announced a transaction, which will make it practical to produce millions of barrels of new petroleum products and help reduce sources of global warming.
Aref Energy Holding, a listed company in the Kuwait stock market with capital of US$300 million and a subsidiary of Aref Investment Group with capital of US$3.0 billion, has acquired a 15 percent stake in Synfuels International and its patented and revolutionary gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology. The deal includes plans to build the first commercial GTL plant based on the new technology, which converts natural gas to liquid petroleum products such as clean burning, affordable high-octane gasoline or other valuable and useful hydrocarbon products. A large scale demonstration plant has operated successfully near Texas A&M University since 2005.
"According to the World Bank, 5.3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is wasted annually by either flaring or being vented," said Ben R. Weber, Chairman and CEO of Synfuels International. "That is equivalent to 25 percent of the United States annual gas consumption or 30 percent of the European Union's gas consumption. In addition, another 4,500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is stranded, meaning that it is not located near a pipeline. Synfuels technology makes it possible to profitably convert this natural gas to gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel that can be transported in existing pipelines or by truck."
"The idea for converting natural gas to a liquid has been explored for a number of years. Many organizations have attempted to perfect the process, but until now, none have achieved the conversion at a commercially viable level," said Tareq Al Wazzan, CEO of Aref Energy Holding. "With this cutting-edge and completely scalable technology, Synfuels has proven that they can make dramatic changes in our ability to utilize millions of cubic feet of natural gas."
"Synfuels has been approached by a number of investors from various parts of the world and especially the Arab Gulf countries," added Charles Matar, Vice President of International Marketing. "Having many reputable companies interested in acquiring equity in Synfuels is very encouraging. However, selecting a strong and active partner such as Aref Energy was a priority for us."
Through an idea conceived by Dr. Kenneth R. Hall, PhD, and developed in cooperation with Texas A&M University and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), the technology that has ultimately accomplished this conversion is the patented Synfuels technology. In contrast, previous technologies which have relied upon the Fischer-Tropsch process have been proven not to be economically viable. The Synfuels technology breaks free of these industry standards and focuses on efficient high-temperature natural gas conversion into acetylene, which is then converted into ethylene at moderate pressures and temperatures. By passing the ethylene through a catalytic reactor, it is finally converted into products such as gasoline and jet fuel. And as a result, the Synfuels yield of usable products is significantly higher than a traditional Fischer-Tropsch plant.
"This new process was first discovered as I was working with my colleagues on how we might be able to dispose of lube oil waste in an environmentally-friendly manner," said Dr. Hall. "During our research and experimentation, we saw that it was possible to convert natural gas to acetylene, which could then be converted to ethylene. And the beauty of the formula for the conversion is that every step has been verified by outside experts as both scalable and possible on a commercial level."
By successfully achieving the conversion, Synfuels International and Aref Energy Holding are now able to expand the process into a pioneering commercial-level plant. The new facility, once completed, will have the capabilities to produce high-octane fuels, which may be used to power any motorized vehicle including aircraft and automobiles, with only the need to flare a small amount of gas to remove nitrogen from the process stream.
"This is undoubtedly the world's first breakthrough for a gas-to-liquids refinery," concluded Thomas R. Rolfe, President of Synfuels International. "By cultivating these untapped resources, we will not only be able provide the world with a cleaner energy solution producing virtually no unwanted bi-products, but we will also be able to stimulate local economies where we have identified these natural resources to be available. It is truly a new day and we are thrilled to be leading the way."
ABOUT SYNFUELS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Founded in 1998, Synfuels International, Inc. believes that a significant opportunity exists for the use of cost-effective GTL systems due to the large resource base of natural gas worldwide and the large volume of natural gas that is currently stranded. Synfuels' objective is to become the leading GTL technology provider to the oil and gas industry.
ABOUT AREF INVESTMENT GROUP
Aref Investment Group S.A.K.C. is a Kuwait-based shareholding company engaged in investment activities and services in local and international markets. The Company's activities include direct investments through its affiliates and subsidiaries in various sectors, such as energy, education, health services and information technology, in addition to its other services in the financial sector, which include portfolio management, asset management, corporate finance, funds, real estate investments and consultancies. The Company is a subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House and has subsidiaries and associates within Kuwait and abroad. The Company is listed on Kuwait Stock Exchange.