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Old 13th December 2016, 21:01   #1
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Default Engine oil made from natural gas

We aren't talking about water here !! We are talking about Petroleum and Lubricating Oils.

This happened sometime last week when I was searching online for a Good Synthetic Engine Oil for my 2014 Ford Figo ZXi after not finding anything lucrative with the Local Dealers in my vicinity apart from Castrol EDGE 5W40 and HP Fully Synthetic Motor Oil 5W40; neither of which was in my contention. The options were Mobil, Motul & Shell as they were easily available online and that I could have paid for it with my Card - being prey to the effects of the recent demonetization.

While browsing through the Online Shopping Portals, I came across this Product from Shell - Helix Ultra 5W40 4L Pack. The Screenshot of Flipkart is as under :

Engine oil made from natural gas-screenshot-shell-helix-ultra-5w40-flipkart-2.jpg

What caught my attention was the circled description in the Screenshot which says - "Made from Natural Gas"

A lot of time and Internet Data was spent on understanding how can An Engine Oil be made from Natural Gas and this is what Wikipedia had to say :
Quote:
What is Gas to Liquids (GTL) ?
Gas to liquids (GTL) is a refinery process to convert natural gas or other gaseous hydrocarbons into longer-chain hydrocarbons, such as gasoline or diesel fuel. Methane-rich gases are converted into liquid synthetic fuels either via direct conversion—using non-catalytic processes that convert methane to methanol in one step—or via syngas as an intermediate, such as in the Fischer Tropsch, Mobil and syngas to gasoline plus processes.
The process involved in the conversion of Natural Gas to Liquids is the Fischer–Tropsch Process. This process is a collection of chemical reactions that converts a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. The process, a key component of gas to liquids technology, produces Synthetic Lubrication Oil and Synthetic Fuel, typically from coal, natural gas, or biomass. The process starts with the partial oxidation of Natural Gas to carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen gas and water. The ratio of carbon monoxide to hydrogen is adjusted using the water gas shift reaction, while the excess carbon dioxide is removed with aqueous solutions of physical solvents. Removing the water yields synthesis gas also known as SYNGAS which is chemically reacted over an iron or cobalt catalyst to produce liquid hydrocarbons and other byproducts. Oxygen is provided from a cryogenic air separation unit. This video from the BIOFUELS ACADEMY gives a deeper insight into the process involved :



Since the process of converting Natural Gas to Liquid has extensive processes involved, it ensures that the products and byproducts derived from the process are in their purest state and form as the chain of processes removes most of the impurities. Some of the main products that are derived from the Gas to Liquid (GTL) process are :
  • Gasoline,
  • Diesel,
  • Jet Fuel,
  • Base Oil for Lubricants,
  • Naptha,
  • Paraffin,
  • Wax

Companies to the likes of SASOL and Royal Dutch Shell have technology proven to work on a commercial scale using the GTL process. Royal Dutch Shell produces a diesel from natural gas in a factory in Bintulu, Malaysia. Another Shell GTL facility is the Pearl GTL plant in Qatar which till date is the world's largest GTL facility and there are reports that Shell is looking at the feasibility of a GTL facility in Louisiana, US as well.

While seeing the video from the BioFuel Academy on YouTube, I noticed a few of the SHELL Videos on Gas to Liquids and would like to share those links here :

A YouTube link to the Pearl GTL Plant in Qatar which apparently is the biggest in the world operating and executing the GTL Process in the largest scale possible :


A couple of YouTube links to the GTL Process explained by Shell :




After seeing the above videos, I was convinced to order my Pack of Shell Helix Ultra 5W40 Online from Flipkart considering the fact that the Base Oil used to manufacture the product is supposedly one of the purest that one can get. Shall probably go for it and place my order and accordingly shall share my user experience of he product in the relevant thread of the Forum and in my Vehicle's Ownership Thread as well.

The process seemed very interesting and very unique to me. I was simply awed by the process in itself and thought of sharing it with community as it shall add value to the contents on the Forum for the members, readers and followers not forgetting the enthusiasts.

Last edited by AJ-got-BHP : 18th December 2016 at 19:04. Reason: Changes
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Old 19th December 2016, 10:02   #2
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Technical Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th December 2016, 18:56   #3
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
...I came across this Product from Shell - Helix Ultra 5W40 4L Pack...
..."Made from Natural Gas"

The process seemed very interesting and very unique to me. I was simply awed by the process in itself and thought of sharing it with community as it shall add value to the contents on the Forum for the members, readers and followers not forgetting the enthusiasts.
Thank you for sharing this - something totally new for me. Necessitates some more research on the topic!

This is what Shell calls it: http://www.shell.co.uk/motorist/oils.../pureplus.html , http://pureplus.shell.com/en/.


Some more information:
http://www.machinerylubrication.com/...gas-to-liquids
The GTL process essentially produces Group III/IV base oils at a lower price point than pure synthetic PAO & ester based base oils, and is said to be more environment-friendly.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 19th December 2016 at 19:09.
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Old 19th December 2016, 19:02   #4
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Thank you for sharing this - something totally new for me. Necessitates some more research on the topic!
Good Link SST ! Definitely requires more research on the topic. Would be elated if other Techy BHPians would give their inputs.

Last edited by Jaggu : 20th December 2016 at 10:09. Reason: Please avoid quoting with video inline, affects readability. Thanks.
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Old 19th December 2016, 19:02   #5
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

I'm sure one can make engine oil from coal also. What is used as feedstock is normally a matter of economics.
Time for the petroleum engineers on this forum to chip in.

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 20th December 2016, 09:59   #6
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Both coal and natural gas can be converted into other fuels, but at a cost. Nazi Germany's oil came from coal.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_fuel#History

Closer home, Larsen & Toubro supplies GTL equipment. Qatar Pearl GTL reactors were made by L&T.
http://www.larsentoubro.com/heavy-en...n/gtl-reactor/

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Old 20th December 2016, 15:26   #7
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post

After seeing the above videos, I was convinced to order my Pack of Shell Helix Ultra 5W40 Online from Flipkart considering the fact that the Base Oil used to manufacture the product is supposedly one of the purest that one can get. Shall probably go for it and place my order and accordingly shall share my user experience of he product in the relevant thread of the Forum and in my Vehicle's Ownership Thread as well.
I've used the Shell Helix Ultra for my Pulsar 220 and trust me, you'll notice a stark difference right away. The engine will be much much smoother and will pull away effortlessly. I had switched from Bajaj specified mineral oil which they fill in your bike during servicing and honestly, comparing the two is like chalk and cheese.
All the harshness and roughness of the engine just vanished after changing the oil to Shell Helix Ultra
I've been using it since a few months now and the performance has remained the same throughout.
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Old 20th December 2016, 16:41   #8
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Quote:
Originally Posted by greatgyan View Post
I've used the Shell Helix Ultra for my Pulsar 220 and trust me, you'll notice a stark difference right away. The engine will be much much smoother and will pull away effortlessly. I had switched from Bajaj specified mineral oil which they fill in your bike during servicing and honestly, comparing the two is like chalk and cheese.
All the harshness and roughness of the engine just vanished after changing the oil to Shell Helix Ultra
I've been using it since a few months now and the performance has remained the same throughout.
Shell helix ultra is not for bikes. It is meant for cars and does not do a good job of lubricating the clutch liners for bikes since in bikes the clutch is lubricated by the engine oil.Cars have a dedicated gear box oil. Long term damage to the clutch components on your bike if you use that oil.

Shell Advanced Ultra is designed for bikes

Last edited by sagarpadaki : 20th December 2016 at 16:44.
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Old 21st December 2016, 13:43   #9
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Gas to Liquids describes a chemical process to convert gas into products such as fertilizers, methanol or liquid hydrocarbons, which can be readily transported to any location.
A Gas-to-Liquids plant converts natural gas (mostly methane) into liquid hydrocarbon products, for example diesel, kerosene and waxes. Not to be confused with LNG, which makes gas liquid by cooling it (a physical process), a GtL plant performs a chemical transformation. This produces ultra pure "oil" products, including specialties, that have a very high market value. A scheme of the process is shown in the below image:

Name:  GTL Block.jpg
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Shell developed the Shell Middle Distillate Synthesis (SMDS) technology using natural gas as a feed-stock to produce middle distillates such as naphtha and gas-oil.

Compared to pipeline and LNG transport, GtL has significant logistical advantages.

- First of all there is a large open market for middle distillate products.
- Secondly, the SMDS technology produces fuels with virtually no aromatic and sulphur components, which can be used directly, or as refinery blending components to improve the quality of crude-derived gas-oil. Blends of SMDS gas-oil with conventional gas-oil give significant reductions in regulated emissions (NOx, SOx, HC, CO and particulates).
- Lastly, SMDS gas-oil can also be used as a neat fuel in diesel engines with minor modifications.

At the heart of any GtL plant is the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis, which uses a catalyst to convert hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) into higher hydrocarbons, mostly normal paraffin. The FT synthesis step is preceded by the manufacturing of synthesis gas, and followed by the work-up of the raw FT product stream. Really, a mini refinery sits at the end of a GtL plant.

What is Syngas
The mixture of CO and H2 that is required as feed-stock for the FT synthesis step is referred to as synthesis gas, or short: syngas.

Types of Syngas
Syngas can be produced from other sources than natural gas:
-biomass (BtL)
-coal (CtL)
-heavy oil residue (LtL) are all possible.

Natural gas is particularly convenient for several reasons:
-Often gas produced to feed a GtL plant yields LPG and gas condensate, valuable by-products, which greatly helps the economics
-Gas is easy to transport over short distance by pipeline (compared e.g. to biomass handling)
-Gasifying methane yields H2 and CO in about the right proportion for FT synthesis: 2 to 1
-Gas is usually relatively clean, especially compared to coal, which limits the need for gas processing
-A gas field provides a convenient accumulation of feed-stock (compared say to biomass, which may have to be gathered from a large area)

Presently, there are only two companies operating commercial GtL plants: Sasol and Shell

Last edited by drive2eternity : 21st December 2016 at 14:07.
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Old 24th December 2016, 09:31   #10
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Ordered my Pack of Shell Helix Ultra 5W40 online and here it is :

Engine oil made from natural gas-p_20161214_204830.jpg

Engine oil made from natural gas-p_20161214_204905.jpg

Engine oil made from natural gas-p_20161214_204845.jpg

to see the MRP and the Date of Manufacture/ Import on the Pack. It says 2013 !

I guess this is the Pro & Con of Online Shopping. Only if engine oil was like wine following the saying "the older the better" would have i used it. I think, i will return this and search for a fresh pack in my vicinity for a fresher and a better experience.
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Old 24th December 2016, 18:04   #11
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
Only if engine oil was like wine following the saying "the older the better" would have i used it.
What are the changes, if any, that occur to unused engine oil in a sealed pack after 3 years?
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Old 24th December 2016, 19:21   #12
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What are the changes, if any, that occur to unused engine oil in a sealed pack after 3 years?
I believe that chemically there would not be any change as such from the part of the manufacturer as Oils do not have any shelf life as such. However, there are high chances of observing the following change in characteristics of the oil depending on :
  1. Their composition and formulation - % of VI, Dye, Additives used. Anything excess would start settling down
  2. The place where they are stored - Damped Floors and Tin Sheds do no good
  3. The containers used to pack the Oil - The Grade of Plastic is important

The following are the changes that might come to one's notice :
  • Firstly, if the Oil is a coloured one i.e.- Green or Red etc., it might get discoloured. Meaning to say that the colour dye which is added to the natural coloured oil might settle down by making the physical appearance of the oil lighter than it's usual colour
  • Secondly, sedimentation (resulting due to separation) of Additives & Viscosity Index Improvers also might settle down at the bottom of the container and that while pouring the oil from the can, the last bit might seem to be heavier/ darker in appearance which supposedly is not good.
  • Lastly, but the most important point is that various brands use various categories of containers. These containers are usually plastic. Now, there are different grades of Plastics Available in the market for the packaging of such oils. Some are inferior and some not. The oil in the inferior packs are prone to attracting moisture which might effect the container and the content of the container. This moisture can also get formed within the pack if stored in various weather conditions which results in breaking the molecular bonding of the oil and disrupting it's characteristic on the whole. You will find such oils to be visually very opaque and whitish in appearance due to the effect of moisture.

That is what comes to my mind immediately as of now
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Old 24th December 2016, 22:01   #13
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Aging in sealed containers:- maybe the Unocal people can enlighten us about it.

Regards
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Old 24th December 2016, 22:35   #14
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Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Aging in sealed containers:- maybe the Unocal people can enlighten us about it.

Regards
Sutripta
FYI - I am No more associated with UNOCAL anymore.

People in the Lube Industry i.e.-manufacturers, C&F's, Distributors and retailers can vouch for what i have mentioned in my comment and it needs no approval.

I have a steal deal for MOTUL Semi Synthetic Packs which have been imported in 2010. Would you like to put your hands in it ? I doubt any sane person would as the company themselves are vulnerable on the content of the material inside sealed packs. Let me have your thoughts Sir; they are always welcome !
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Old 25th December 2016, 00:17   #15
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Default Re: Engine oil made from natural gas

Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ-got-BHP View Post
However, there are high chances of observing the following change in characteristics of the oil depending on :
  1. Their composition and formulation - % of VI, Dye, Additives used. Anything excess would start settling down
  2. The place where they are stored - Damped Floors and Tin Sheds do no good
  3. The containers used to pack the Oil - The Grade of Plastic is important

The following are the changes that might come to one's notice :
  • Firstly, if the Oil is a coloured one i.e.- Green or Red etc., it might get discoloured. Meaning to say that the colour dye which is added to the natural coloured oil might settle down by making the physical appearance of the oil lighter than it's usual colour
  • Secondly, sedimentation (resulting due to separation) of Additives & Viscosity Index Improvers also might settle down at the bottom of the container and that while pouring the oil from the can, the last bit might seem to be heavier/ darker in appearance which supposedly is not good.
  • Lastly, but the most important point is that various brands use various categories of containers. These containers are usually plastic. Now, there are different grades of Plastics Available in the market for the packaging of such oils. Some are inferior and some not. The oil in the inferior packs are prone to attracting moisture which might effect the container and the content of the container. This moisture can also get formed within the pack if stored in various weather conditions which results in breaking the molecular bonding of the oil and disrupting it's characteristic on the whole. You will find such oils to be visually very opaque and whitish in appearance due to the effect of moisture.
After how many months of storage do you think the above points may start having an impact on the oil ?

During a discussion with a lubricant R&D person, I was told that as per their standards shelf life of an engine oil(sealed container) is minimum 5 years.

Motul 2010 is totally out !!

Last edited by kpzen : 25th December 2016 at 00:21.
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