South African energy and chemicals group Sasol today announced that it has chosen the southwestern region of the State of Louisiana as the site for a planned gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility. The project is slated to be the first plant in the U.S. to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products.
“GTL fuels are an important part of the energy mix because they can advance energy independence in a way that is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly,” said Sasol Managing Director: New Business Development, Ernst Oberholster. In addition, unlike other proposed alternatives to conventional petroleum-based fuels, GTL fuel is used in existing vehicles and fuel delivery infrastructure without modifications.
Sasol will embark on a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, over the next 18 months. The feasibility study will consider two options of a two million tons per annum and a four million tons per annum facility. The project could create up to 850 permanent positions and up to approximately 5,500 jobs during peak construction periods.
In December 2010, Sasol announced the world’s first Ethylene Tetramerization Unit, also to be built in Calcasieu Parish.
For over 60 years Sasol has used its proprietary technology to produce more than 1.6 billion barrels of liquid fuels and chemicals from coal and natural gas.
GTL transportation fuel is cleaner burning than conventional diesel with a comparable, and potentially lower, greenhouse gas profile. GTL fuels are virtually free of sulfur and aromatic compounds and reduce emissions of particulates, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other pollutants and will improve air quality. A 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers study showed that GTL production offers substantial air quality benefits compared to an oil refinery due to its lower sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions.
Sasol converts gas and coal into liquid fuels, fuel components and chemicals through the Fischer-Tropsch processes. In partnership with Qatar Petroleum Sasol started our first international GTL plant, Oryx GTL, in 2007. Sasol is also exploring GTL opportunities in Uzbekistan.