Activation of methane with a halogen followed by the metathesis of methyl halide is a novel route from methane to higher hydrocarbons or oxygenates. Thermodynamic analysis revealed that bromine is the most suitable halogen for this goal. Analysis of the published data on the reaction kinetics in a CSTR enabled us to judge on the effects of temperature, reactor residence time and the feed concentrations of bromine and methane to the conversion of methane and the selectivity towards mono or dibromomethane. The analysis indicated that high dibromomethane selectivity is attainable (over 90%) accompanied by high methane conversions. The metathesis of dibromomethane can provide an alternative route to the conversion of methane (natural gas) economically with smaller installations than the current syn-gas route. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.