South African energy and chemicals group Sasol has chosen southwestern Louisiana for the site for its planned gas-to-liquids plant, the company announced today. The project is to be the first in the US to produce GTL transportation fuels and other products.
Over 18 months, Sasol will undertake a feasibility study to evaluate the viability of a GTL venture in Calcasieu Parish. The study will consider a 2-million tons/year plant or a 4-million-tpy plant.
Calcasieu Parish encompasses several natural gas and liquids pipelines to move feed gas into a GTL plant and to move produced liquids to petrochemical plants or refineries west in Southeast Texas or east near New Orleans.
This prospect for a GTL plant in North America follows a steady drumbeat of industry speculation for nearly a year, driven by continued projections of far more natural gas production from shale developments that the region can consume. The last year has also seen several proposals to install gas liquefaction at US LNG terminals and at least one grassroots LNG plant on the West Coast of Canada.
In a similar “first-of-a-kind” announcement in December 2010, Sasol announced plans for the world’s first ethylene tetramerization unit, also to be built in Calcasieu Parish.