Engineering News

Sasol to invest $32.6 mln in reactor to cut costs
Mon Feb 27, 2006am ET

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - South Africa's Sasol, the world's biggest producer of synthetic fuel from coal, will invest 200 million rand ($32.6 million) to help cut fuel production costs, the company said on Monday.

The cash will be used to build an innovative Fischer-Tropsch design reactor at its research and development facilities in Sasolburg, South Africa, Sasol said in a statement.

Fischer-Tropsch is Sasol's proprietary technology for converting coal into liquid fuels.

The Fischer-Tropsch design reactor is slurry-phase based and will have a production capacity of up to 500 barrels of product per day, the group said.

The reactor will support the engineering design of the next generation of Fischer-Tropsch reactors for Sasol's world renowned gas-to-liquids (GTL) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) technologies, key drivers of Sasol's global growth strategy.

"This research design reactor will assist Sasol in achieving significantly higher productivity in terms of gas throughput and product conversion rates over current-generation designs," Sasol Chief Executive Officer, Pat Davies said.

"It will also support our quest to continuously lower the capital cost of the GTL process and improve operational efficiency, while also allowing us to test some novel reactor configurations."

Sasol Chevron, the joint venture between Sasol and U.S. oil company Chevron Corp., plans to commission the world's first commercial-scale GTL facility outside of South Africa at Ras Laffan in Qatar in the first half of this year.

The plant, called Oryx GTL, will produce 34,000 barrels per day of liquid fuels from natural gas.

Sasol told Reuters earlier this month it had withdrawn from the tender process for a 34,000 barrel-per-day GTL project at Arzew in Algeria but declined to give reasons.

Source: Reuters

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