South African petrochemicals giant Sasol and its partners have signed an investment agreement with the government of Uzbekistan for the development and implementation of a gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in that country.
Under the investment agreement, the investors and the GTL project will enjoy investment protection and fiscal benefits, to ensure the successful implementation and operation of the GTL facility.
The conclusion of the investment agreement is an important milestone in the development of the project, in which Sasol and local state-owned oil and gas firm Uzbekneftegaz each hold 44.5% interest, and Malaysia’s Petronas an 11% interest.
World leader in GTL
Sasol CEO David Constable met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov prior to the signing ceremony in Tashkent last week, where he thanked the government for their ongoing support of the project.
Constable said the ability to harness the benefits of natural gas to make cleaner transport fuels is a key element of a lower emissions energy future.
“GTL technology is the most cost effective way of achieving this and, as a world leader in GTL, Sasol is very pleased to be working with partners who have both the vision to see the opportunity and the capacity to act on it,” he said.
Reducing oil dependence
The GTL project will reduce Uzbekistan’s dependence on imports of crude oil and transportation fuels and will diversify the use of its domestic gas resources.
The project will also improve the quality of the fuel pool, reducing emissions, thereby securing the associated environmental benefits.
Uzbekneftegaz will supply the feedstock, from the already developed Shurtan group of gas fields and will off-take the majority of the production, under long-term arrangements.
The next phase will be the front end engineering and design of the GTL project, which will commence before the end of the 2011. Depending on the final investment decision, the plant will be operational in the second half of this decade.