Oxidative coupling of methane (OCM) is an alternative route to ethylene. The main advantage of this process over conventional one lies with the cheapest kind of feedstock and generation of large amounts of steam through the reaction heat recovery. Basic data for making calculations have been obtained in laboratory scale and pilot units. The essential process performance figures are conversion of methane (30 – 32%), selectivity to C2 hydrocarbons (56-58%) C2 yield (around 18%).
Economic analysis has shown that ethylene production cost in Russian gas-processing plants is 1.7-2.0 times and that of chemical plants is by 15-30% lower than for ethylene produced by steam cracking of hydrocarbon cuts. As applied to Western Europe this ICM process is yet unprofitable today. For gasproducing countries the situation may be similar to Russia. 41