Fast-tracking the growth of our proprietary gas-to-liquids (GTL) technology and facilities is one of the cornerstones of Sasol’s strategic agenda.
Since we launched our first GTL facility outside South Africa in Qatar in 2007, we have been working to extend our GTL footprint. Our GTL represents a compelling value proposition, offering countries the opportunity to make their gas reserves work harder by producing liquid fuels and chemicals.
In the past 20 years, strong growth in emerging countries has boosted global oil consumption. As India and China, and other emerging economies, continue to develop and their populations expand, their demand for energy will increase further. Transportation now accounts for about a fifth of global energy consumption, driven by more affordable motor vehicles and increasing sales. As demand continues to grow, traditional energy sources must be used more efficiently, and a range of alternatives will need to be developed to bridge an anticipated supply gap.
Hydrocarbons will remain an important component of the energy mix, and natural gas – the cleanest of all hydrocarbons – will play an important role. The abundance of natural gas resources around the world, which can be developed at relatively low cost, offers an important opportunity for countries to secure their energy supply.
Our pioneering Sasol Slurry Phase Distillate™ Process gives versatility to natural gas, transforming it into a range of high-quality, high-value energy and chemical products, including transport fuels, base oils, waxes, paraffins and naphtha. The liquid fuels produced through our GTL process are a high-performance, low-emission products that deliver significant air quality advantages. Our research scientists and engineers are constantly rolling out new designs for higher-capacity GTL plants to reduce capital and operating costs.
We have been producing synthetic fuels for more than 60 years, mainly using coal as feedstock. In partnership with Qatar Petroleum, we launched our first synthetic fuel facility outside South Africa – ORYX GTL – using natural gas as feedstock.
ORYX GTL is our flagship GTL plant, producing at levels greater than its nameplate capacity on a sustained basis. Its cleaner-burning products command a premium on the world market. It is the benchmark for Sasol GTL facilities worldwide and the springboard off which we plan to leverage our experience. Visit the ORYX GTL website: http://www.oryxgtl.com.qa/ for more information.
Sasol’s plans to construct more GTL facilities, which are at various stages of development. Our most advanced plans are in Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Canada and the United States, all countries with significant natural gas resources.
These resources present an opportunity for Sasol to harness low-cost gas as a feedstock and through our unique technology to convert it into higher-value liquid fuels, so keenly in demand. This not only improves energy security but also stimulates further downstream manufacturing from which Sasol businesses can also benefit.
The shale gas boom in North America presents a viable growth opportunity for Sasol. Along with the de-linking of oil and gas prices, and the abundance of gas at relatively low prices in North America, Sasol is well positioned to convert the low-priced gas into high-value transport fuels.
Our GTL value proposition benefits from increased gas volumes at a discount to an equivalent oil price and our chemical growth aspirations benefit from the availability of advantaged ethane feedstock.
Sasol businesses are working together to achieve our GTL ambitions. Sasol Petroleum International explores for and develops natural gas reserves to secure the gas the group needs to power GTL facilities. Sasol Synfuels International and Sasol Technology work to provide the quantities of high-quality, cost-effective catalyst to drive the conversion process. As GTL facilities can produce feedstock for a wide range of chemical products, Sasol’s chemical businesses are investigating the feasibility of producing these at integrated GTL-driven facilities. Chemicals produced in this way have significant feedstock cost advantage, increasing the margins they command in the market.