Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sasol Shelves Lake Charles GTL Plant

In a somewhat unsurprising move, South African company Sasol shelved its proposed +/-$14 billion gas-to-liquids plant that would have been adjacent to its existing operations in Lake Charles, LA.  The plunge in oil prices doomed an already risky proposition.  From the press release:
"Sasol has decided to delay the final investment decision on its large-scale, gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Louisiana. The timing of the decision will take into consideration progress made with the execution of the Company’s world-scale ethane cracker and derivatives complex, prevailing market conditions and other strategic investment opportunities."
The plant was announced officially in December 2012 but was always a bit of a long shot because GTL plants are very expensive to build.  The company will proceed with other expansions at the Lake Charles/Westlake facility that capitalize on abundant, inexpensive natural gas and also take advantage of generous economic development incentives from the state of Louisiana.  Don't look for the GTL plant to proceed for quite a while, at least in my opinion, but do look for Sasol to keep receiving public handouts for making a market-driven decision.

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