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Sasol Signs Agreement GTL in Uzbekistan


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JOHANNESBURG (Press release) – Sasol and partners sign the investment agreement for the development and implementation of a GTL project with the Government of Uzbekistan.

Today South African energy and chemicals group, Sasol, together with partners Uzbekneftegaz and PETRONAS, signed an investment agreement with the Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investment and Trade for the Uzbekistan government, for the development and implementation of a Gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Uzbekistan. 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.

Sasol CEO, David Constable, met with the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, prior to the signing ceremony and thanked the President and his government for their ongoing support of the project.

Commenting at the signing ceremony in Tashkent, 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.

The conclusion of the investment agreement is an important milestone in the development of the GTL project in which Sasol and Uzbekneftegaz each hold 44.5% interest and PETRONAS an 11% interest.

The GTL project will reduce Uzbekistan’s dependence on the importation of crude oil and transportation fuels and will diversify the utilisation of its domestic gas resources. The GTL 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.

Attending the ceremony also was the President of PETRONAS, Dato’ Shamsul Azhar Abbas, who expressed PETRONAS’ support of and commitment to, the partnership between the three companies, with the government of Uzbekistan.

The next phase will be the front end engineering and design of the GTL project which will commence before the end of the year 2011 and depending on the final investment decision, the plant will be operational in the second half of this decade.

About Uzbekistan GTL project & Sasol

South Africa’s Sasol is the world’s top maker of motor fuel from coal. For over 60 years Sasol has used its proprietary technology to produce more than 1.6 billion barrels of liquid fuels and chemicals from coal and natural gas.

After Sasol, GTL transportation fuel is cleaner burning than conventional diesel with a comparable, and potentially lower, greenhouse gas profile. GTL fuels are virtually free of sulphur and aromatic compounds and reduce emissions of particulates, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and other pollutants and will improve air quality. A 2005 PricewaterhouseCoopers study showed that GTL production offers substantial air quality benefits compared to an oil refinery due to its lower sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon emissions.

In April 2009, Sasol Synfuels International (Pty) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of South African energy and chemicals group Sasol Limited, along with its partners the National Holding Company “Uzbekneftegaz” and PETRONAS signed a heads of agreement with regard to the possible development of a GTL plant in Uzbekistan.

A joint-venture agreement was subsequently signed in July 2009 and the feasibility study commenced in December 2009 after all regulatory approvals were obtained for the formation of a joint venture company, Uzbekistan GTL LLC.

The feasibility study has now been completed and based on results of this study it was determined that the establishment of a GTL plant in Uzbekistan, utilising Sasol’s proprietary SPDTM technology, with an estimated nominal capacity of 1,4 million tons per annum would be feasible. The GTL plant will produce high quality, environmentally friendly diesel, kerosene and naphtha.

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