Sasol forms new GTL reactor procurement alliance
Apr. 16, 2002
TOKYO(Apri 16, 2002)--Sasol Technology (Proprietary) Limited - the technology company of Sasol Limited, the South African-based energy and petrochemicals group - has formed a groundbreaking alliance with a Japanese engineering consortium for the design, fabrication and supply of the Sasol Slurry Phase Fischer-Tropsch reactors to be incorporated into Sasol's new-generation gas-to-liquids (GTL) plants. The consortium comprises two internationally respected companies, Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries, Company Limited (IHI) and Nissho Iwai Corporation, both of Tokyo.
Sasol Technology developed and commercialised the unique Sasol Slurry Phase Distillate (SPD) process during the 1980s and 1990s as part of its advanced Fischer-Tropsch technology research and development programme established in the 1960s. This novel form of Sasol's low-temperature Fischer-Tropsch synthesis technology can be used competitively around the world to convert methane-rich natural gas into a high-quality, low-emissions fuel suitable for use in diesel engines.
Sasol is participating in two new GTL plants that will incorporate the SPD technology. One GTL plant is being developed in the Escravos Delta region of southern Nigeria though Sasol Chevron, Sasol's global joint venture with ChevronTexaco. Sasol Chevron, working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL), is developing the Nigerian GTL plant at a cost of about US$1.2-billion. Qatar Petroleum and Sasol Synfuels International are jointly developing the other GTL plant at Ras Laffan in north-eastern Qatar in the Middle East at a cost of about US$850-million. Both plants will be commissioned in 2005.
Through the Sasol Chevron global joint venture, Sasol intends to develop several other international GTL plants over the next decade. Sasol Chevron will generate the new ventures and market the products from future GTL plants. Independent scientific tests conducted in America and Europe reveal that Sasol's new GTL fuel suitable for diesel engines is exceptionally low in aromatics and sulphur, while having a cetane number greater than 70.
John Marriott, Sasol's general manager responsible for technology, comments: "Optimising both production economics and technology partnerships have long been critical business objectives for Sasol. We also need to maximise our project management and procurement productivity, develop mutually beneficial technological and engineering partnerships, and endeavour to reduce the capital and operating costs of our international joint-venture GTL plants.
"It is primarily for these reasons that we opted to form a reactor procurement alliance with IHI and Nissho Iwai, a consortium that was selected by Sasol Technology from 15 potential suppliers in Japan, Korea, Europe and America. The entire selection process was undertaken after several months of in-depth exploratory discussions and comprehensive site visits."
Marriott adds: "The principles of the alliance are strict. The entire relationship between Sasol and IHI with Nissho Iwai will be based on a great deal of trust, transparency and mutual support. The overarching goal of the alliance is to create and maintain maximum synergy to benefit both parties."
Sasol may require as many as 14 to 20 of these mega-size Slurry Phase reactors over the next decade. A typical GTL plant would comprise two Slurry Phase reactors. Potentially, this envisaged requirement could be worth well in excess of US$200-million in contracts for the IHI-Nissho Iwai consortium. Orders for the Nigerian and Qatari GTL plants' Slurry Phase reactors are expected to be finalised before the end of January 2003.
Yasuo Shinohara, IHI's senior general manager responsible for the energy sector and the head of the special task force of this alliance project, comments: "Sasol's commitment to select the IHI-Nissho Iwai consortium as its long-term alliance partner brings us immense pleasure. I guarantee that our contribution will play a key role in helping Sasol to remain the world's number-one player in gas-to-liquids technology."
Kazunori Teraoka, Nissho Iwai's executive officer responsible for energy-related plant projects, says: "The partnership with Sasol is another giant step forward for IHI and Nissho Iwai. It will enable us to make a valuable contribution to the gas-to-liquids field over the next few decades."
Hisomu Nagai, Nissho Iwai's general manager responsible for gas-to-liquids projects, has worked closely with Sasol for the last 30 years. He adds: "We are now in a strong position to work diligently with Sasol to help it make a strong international launch of its unique Slurry Phase Distillate process and to develop, in time, a successful series of international gas-to-liquid projects. An exciting passage in technology history has begun"
Nissho Iwai, a major trading company, has been working with Sasol in the supply of equipment for coal and gas liquefaction since the 1970s. IHI has extensive experience in the field of constructing and supplying high-tech plant and equipment for the energy sector, including the nuclear industry, as well as some of Sasol's requirements for its new-generation Sasol Advanced Synthol reactors at Secunda in South Africa.
Please visit the Sasol website at www.sasol.com for more information on the group, its products and technologies, and, more specifically, the Sasol Slurry Phase Distillate process.