Citing lower oil prices, Sasol delays Louisiana GTL plant investment

South Africa’s Sasol Ltd. says it will delay the final investment decision on a large-scale, gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Louisiana as part of the company’s plan to conserve cash in response to lower international oil prices.

The timing of the decision will take into consideration progress made with the execution of Sasol’s ethane cracker and derivatives complex in Westlake, La., prevailing market conditions, and other strategic investment opportunities, the company says.

“Albeit at a much slower pace, we will continue to progress the US GTL facility,” explained David Constable, Sasol’s president and chief executive officer. “This will allow us to evaluate the possibility of phasing in the project in the most pragmatic and effective manner. North America and our home base in Southern Africa remain strategic investment destinations for Sasol."

The company in late 2013 chose Technip as the primary contractor for the front-end engineering and design phase of the facility (OGJ Online, Nov. 25, 2013).

Sasol is proceeding with construction of its ethane cracker and derivatives complex, for which a $4-billion credit facility was secured in December (OGJ Online, Dec. 23, 2014).

The company says it’s confident that, given “robust project economics,” the facility is the first step in developing the site near Lake Charles into an integrated hub.

The company also will continue to advance its investments in various gas and chemicals projects in Southern Africa, it says.

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