South Africa's Sasolis closing in on a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and National Petrochemical Company (NPC)for an integrated up-downstream gas-to-liquids (GTL) project. The company already has an MoU for the GTL plant but is now seeking a wider mandate to develop South Pars phase 14, which will supply feedstock for the project (MEED 25:7:03).
The project will likely take at least another year to bring to engineering, but represents a significant move forward for Iran's gas export ambitions. Another project, being promoted by Norway's Statoilin partnership with South Africa's Petro SAand NIOC, is also seeking an MoU but is still at the feasibility stage. Like Sasol, Statoil is proposing to integrate its project with upstream work in South Pars phase 14. The Sasol project will involve the construction of a plant with capacity to produce 140,000 tonnes a year (t/y) of GTL in two trains. Statoil's project aims to produce 60,000 t/y. Unlike liquefied natural gas (LNG), GTL only requires expensive processing facilities at one end of the marketing chain. It can be used as a clean fuel for a variety of uses and can also be blended with liquefied petroleum gas. The product's versatility also makes it easier to market. A third GTL project, promoted by the Royal Dutch/Shell Groupin partnership with NPC, is now moving at a slower pace while the company carries out a GTL project in Qatar. Shell is pursuing the Persian LNG project, which will involve developing South Pars phase 13.