Base oils production via GTL a game changer: Sasol exec

05 December 2013 15:13  [Source: ICIS news]

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (ICIS)--Sasol’s plan to produce base oils via its gas-to-liquids (GTL) process could bring up to 9,000 bbl/day of new high-quality production by 2020, an executive with South Africa-based company said on Thursday.

“We think GTL base oils could be a game changer in this industry,” said Mark Schnell, general manager for marketing, strategy and new business development at Sasol. He made his comments during a presentation of the ninth ICIS Pan-American Base Oils & Lubricants Conference.

Sasol plans to take advantage of the advent of North American shale gas with its announced GTL plant, set to be built in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

One billion cubic feet/day (bcf/day) would be converted into 100,000 bbl/day of liquid fuels and chemicals, about 30% of which would be base oils, paraffin cuts and waxes, Schnell said.

Front-end engineering and design (FEED) of the plant is underway, with a final investment decision set for 2016, the executive said. The first phase of startup is scheduled for 2019, with the second phase to follow in 2020.

Base oils produced via GTL are of high quality and consistency, leading to lubricants that aid in vehicle fuel economy and lower emissions, as well as durability of the lubricant, Schnell said. Also, the low cost of Henry Hub-priced US natural gas makes the margins of producing base oils from GTL attractive well into the future, he said.

The ICIS Pan-American Base Oils & Lubricants Conference continues through Friday.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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