Johannesburg: Sasol Ltd, the world’s largest producer of motor fuel from coal, said it will decide late next year whether to invest as much as $14 billion (around Rs57,400 crore) in two 80,000 barrel-a-day refineries in China.
Sasol, which uses technology first designed by German scientists and refined by South African engineers since 1950 to convert coal and gas into fuel, also plans to build new plants in the US, Nigeria, India and Australia.
The company started a study on the feasibility of the two coal-to-motor fuel plants last year after a visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to South Africa, Herbert Naude, Sasol’s investor relations representative, said. The plants won’t be operational before the end of 2013, he added.
Driving force: Trainees at Sasol’s vocational centre in South Africa. Demand for the company’s technology is rising as countries with coal and gas reserves seek to reduce their dependence on crude oil imports.
“We need to make sure certain things are in place, coal supply, product offtake and capital estimates, before we go ahead,” Naude told investors at an UBS Global Alternative Energy Conference in New York.
Demand for the company’s technology is rising as countries with coal and gas reserves seek to reduce their dependence on crude oil imports.
The plants are planned for the Shaanxi and Ningxia provinces in China, Naude said.
The company, which produces more than 40% of South Africa’s motor fuel, plans capital expenditure of $20 billion between this year and 2009.
It is also studying the construction of a new, 80,000 barrel-a-day refinery in South Africa as the country is starting to import about 5% of its liquid fuel, he said.
“There is a need for us, strategically and also economically to build another facility in the country,” Naude said.