26 July 2012
Infrastructure development has begun on the site of a planned gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Uzbekistan as the partners in the project – state-owned oil and gas firm Uzbekneftegaz, South African petrochemicals giant Sasol, and Malaysia’s Petronas – move closer to a final investment decision.
Speaking at a ceremony at the proposed plant site at Shurtan in the south of Uzbekistan on the weekend, Uzbekistan Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev said the multi-billion dollar project would result in the first such high-tech plant on the Eurasian continent.
“Once completed, it will reprocess 3.5-billion cubic metres of gas annually … producing $1.5-billion worth of products including diesel and jet fuels, naphta and liquefied gas,” Mirziyaev said.
At the ceremony, the project was officially named Oltin Yo’l GTL. “Oltin Yo’l” translates as “golden road” and is a reference to the centuries-old trade routes which passed through Uzbekistan and specifically through Samarkand, the country’s second city.
According to Sasol – a world leader in gas-to-liquid technology – the 38 000 bpd plant will produce a combination of GTL diesel and GTL naphtha and, in an important development in the application of GTL fuels, GTL kerosene for the aviation sector.
The GTL project will reduce Uzbekistan’s dependence on imports of crude oil and transportation fuels and will diversify the use of its domestic gas resources.
The project will also improve the quality of the fuel pool, reducing emissions and thereby securing associated environmental benefits.
Sasol said a final investment decision is expected during the second half of 2013.
“Sasol is proud to be part of this strategic project, which will provide Uzbekistan with world-class environmentally friendly fuel, contribute to the country’s energy security, and diversify the utilisation of its domestic gas resources,” Sasol CEO David Constable said in a statement.
“This project will significantly contribute to the economic growth of Uzbekistan by bringing billions of dollars of foreign direct investment into the country, thereby creating hundreds of skilled jobs and additional indirect employment opportunities for the country’s population.”
Sasol and Uzbekneftegaz each hold a 44.5% interest in the project, and Malaysia’s Petronas an 11% interest.