Petrochemicals or bust

Mossgas (Pty.) Ltd.'s gas-to-liquids plant in Mossel Bay, South Africa, has been criticized as being a "white elephant"; that is, something that costs more to keep than it is worth. The image, however, is unwarranted. Under normal market conditions, Mossgas is a cash-positive operation that doesn't depend on state subsidies. Like Sasol Ltd., it receives tariff protection only when the oil price drops below a certain level, which is determined by the government.In the recent past, Mossgas focused on sustaining its natural gas feedstock supply. In 1998, it finally got government approval to produce gas from offshore EM field, which is expected to provide the plant with feedstock until...

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