2487.     OBERFELL, G. G.  Utilization of Natural Gas in the United States.  Oil Gas Jour., vol. 44, No. 32, 1945, pp. 76-78; Gas Age, vol. 96, No. 13, 1946, pp. 12-15, 50; vol. 97, No. 1, 1946, pp. 25-29, 58-60; Am. Gas Assoc. Monthly, vol. 28, No. 1, 1946, pp. 7-13, 48; Nat. Petrol. News, tech. Sec., vol. 38, No. 1, 1946, R, pp. 46-51; Petrol. Refiner, vol. 25, No. 1, 1946, pp. 94-104; Petrol. Eng., vol. 17, No. 4, 1946, pp. 158, 160, 164, 166, 168, 170, 174, 176, 178; Min. and Met., vol. 27, 1946, pp. 165-172.

        Paper read before the Chicago section of American Institute of mining and Metallurgical Engineers.  The competitive position of natural gas with respect to coal as a raw material for Fischer-Tropsch type processes in the United States will depend upon the relative economics, efficiencies of utilization, and over-all reserves of coal and natural gas available.  It is generally agreed that gasoline from dry natural gas as a starting material is cheaper to produce than the same product from coal as the raw material.  For example, with natural gas at $0.05 per 1,000 cu. ft., the cost per bbl. of gasoline produced (10,450 cu. ft. per bbl.) is approximately $0.52.  To compare favorably with this, the price of coal per ton would need to be about $0.77 on the basis of 1,360 lb. of coal per bbl. of gasoline.  On the other hand, the synthesis process using natural gas will not be able to compete with present refinery methods utilizing crude petroleum until the price of crude reaches about $1.75-$2.00 per bbl.  The successful commercial development of the Fischer-Tropsch process should lead to its integration with the natural gasoline industry, with which it is complementary in that it affords an outlet for residual gas and for dry gas without a pipeline market and with the natural gas fuel industry with which it promises to compete.  Furthermore, the process is of considerable economic importance to the chemical industry in its application to the synthesis of many chemical products.