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Add To DockRefining Jet Fuel

Royal Dutch Shell is putting the finishing touches on a $19 billion gas-to-liquids plant in Qatar. The company says if it’s cost-worthy, a smaller plant in the U.S. could prove useful.

Shell’s technology uses catalysts to turn natural gas into jet fuel, diesel and other liquids.

The development of shale fields made the U.S. the world’s largest gas producer in 2009 and caused a slump in prices. The Energy Information Administration says shale gas will make up 47 percent of total U.S. production in 2035.

BG Group is a UK-based producer that owns natural gas fields in the United States. CEO Frank Chapman says the gap between oil and natural gas prices has companies looking for ideas.

“There are many other proponents talking about not only exporting gas, but finding other uses for it in the U.S.,” such as chemicals and fertilizers, Chapman said. The gap between oil and gas prices will narrow over time and it “will be good for owners of substantial gas reserves.”

Jet fuel just might be the thing to unload some of the natural gas in the meantime.

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