The First U.S. Gas-to-Liquids Facility to Open in Louisiana

South African energy and chemicals group Sasol has chosen the southwestern region of the State of Louisiana as the site for a planned gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility. The project is slated to be the first plant in the United States to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products.

In a press conference with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Ernst Oberholster, managing director of new business development at Sasol said, “We believe Sasol’s proprietary GTL technology can help unlock the potential of Louisiana’s clean and abundant natural gas resources and contribute to an affordable, reliable and high quality fuel supply for the United States. GTL fuels are an important part of the energy mix because they can advance energy independence in a way that is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. In addition, unlike other proposed alternatives to conventional petroleum-based fuels, GTL fuel is used in existing vehicles and fuel delivery infrastructure without modifications."

Sasol will embark on a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish, La, over the next 18 months. The feasibility study will consider two options of a 2 million tons per annum and a 4 million tons per annum facility. The project could create up to 850 permanent positions and up to approximately 5,500 jobs during peak construction periods.

This is the second “first of a kind” announcement by Sasol in the United States in less than a year. In December 2010, Sasol announced the world’s first Ethylene Tetramerization Unit, also to be built in Calcasieu Parish.