Processing Magazine

Sasol commences FEED phase for $21 billion Louisiana gas-to-liquids facility

December 4, 2012

LAKE CHARLES, La. -- South African-based energy and chemicals company, Sasol, says it will proceed with front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase for an integrated, 96,000 bbl/d gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility and a world-scale ethane cracker with downstream derivatives, at its Lake Charles site in southwest Louisiana.

At a media conference with Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, Sasol’s CEO, David Constable, said there is significant opportunity to benefit from abundant gas reserves in the U.S. by leveraging Sasol’s GTL experience and technology. Sasol’s GTL process diversifies the use of natural gas through the production of liquid fuels and chemicals.

“By incorporating GTL technology into the USA’s energy mix, states such as Louisiana will be able to advance the country’s energy independence, through a diversification of supply,” said Constable.

“This project will be the largest single manufacturing investment in the history of Louisiana and it also represents one of the largest foreign direct investment manufacturing projects in the history of the entire United States,” said Governor Jindal.

The GTL facility, said to be the first of its kind in the U.S, will produce four million tons per annum (mtpa), or 96,000 bbl/d of high quality transportation fuel, including GTL diesel and other value-adding chemical products.

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Current project costs for the GTL facility are estimated between $11 billion and $14 billion. The GTL project will be delivered in two phases, with each phase comprising 48,000 bbl/d. The first phase is planned to come into operation in the 2018 calendar year and the second phase the following calendar year.

The world-scale ethane cracker, Sasol says, will allow it to expand its ethylene derivatives business in the U.S. The cracker will also benefit from the current low U.S. natural gas prices and the abundance of ethane.

Current cracker project costs are estimated between $5 billion and $7 billion. Sasol expects beneficial operation to be achieved during the 2017 calendar year. It will produce an estimated 1.5 mtpa of ethylene with downstream derivative plants.

The integrated GTL and ethane cracker projects will, Sasol estimates, together, create a minimum of 1,200 permanent positions, 7,000 construction jobs at peak and thousands of indirect jobs both in Louisiana and in the rest of the U.S.