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GTL Jet Fuel approved for use in civil aviation


Shell today welcomed the release by ASTM International of a new specification that fully and unconditionally approves the use of Gas-to-Liquids Kerosene blends for powering commercial aircraft.

The new specification, ASTM D7566 “Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons”, approves jet fuel containing up to 50% GTL Kerosene for use in civil aviation.

The blends will be known as GTL Jet Fuel.

GTL Kerosene is one of five GTL products that will be produced in commercial volumes by the Pearl GTL project, currently under construction by Qatar Petroleum and Shell. The project will produce around one million tonnes of GTL Kerosene per annum, enough to power a typical commercial airliner for half a billon kilometres (equivalent to carrying 250 passengers around the world 4,000 times) when used in a 50% blend to make GTL Jet Fuel.

Construction of Pearl GTL is planned to be complete around the end of 2010 with project ramp-up then taking about 12 months. GTL Kerosene is planned to be available from 2012.

The publication of the specification follows two years’ research and discussion by the ASTM specification group, a consensus body consisting of producers, equipment manufacturers and consumers of aviation fuel.

Shell is also working as part of a consortium with Airbus, Qatar Fuel Company (WOQOD), Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Science & Technology Park and Rolls-Royce to research the potential benefits of using GTL Jet Fuel in aviation engines. GTL Jet Fuel has lower emissions of particulates and other pollutants that affect local air quality. GTL Jet Fuel also has a slightly higher energy density per kilogram than oil-derived kerosene, meaning that a lower weight of fuel may be required for each kilometre flown. The consortium is working to quantify this potential fuel saving amongst other work.

Andy Brown, Shell’s Executive Vice President Qatar and Managing Director of the Pearl GTL project said: “I believe GTL Jet Fuel’s qualities, including its potential to reduce pollution around airports and allow airplanes to carry a slightly lighter fuel payload, will make it attractive to airlines and airport authorities. For Qatar, GTL provides the opportunity to market its natural gas in diverse markets currently supplied by oil products. Today’s approval opens up commercial aviation as another of these markets, helping to maximise the value Qatar can generate from its natural resources.”

Pearl GTL will convert natural gas into liquid fuels, lubricants and chemical feedstocks. In addition to GTL Kerosene, Pearl GTL will produce: GTL Gasoil, a diesel type fuel; GTL Base Oils, which are used to manufacture high quality lubricants; GTL Normal Paraffin, which is used in the production of detergents; and GTL Naphtha, a feedstock for plastics products.
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