SOL - Sasol Limited - Project update: Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) Joint Venture Release Date: 22/05/2007 08:30:01 Code(s): SOL
SOL - Sasol Limited - Project update: Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) Joint Venture
(Incorporated in South Africa)
(Registration number: 1979/003231/06)
ISIN Code: ZAE000006896
JSE Code: SOL
NYSE Code: SSL
Project update: Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) Joint Venture
The Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) venture in Qatar, in which Sasol has a 49%
shareholding, has now been operational for more than three months. During this
initial start-up period all systems, process units, including the three main
technologies, have been successfully tested and have demonstrated design
intent. This bodes well for our strategic ambition to grow our business
through GTL projects worldwide. Products that meet specification are being
produced and the first consignment was shipped to market during April.
As to be expected with a facility of this size and complexity, the plant has
experienced start-up operational challenges, most of these limited to
individual pieces of equipment. The failure of the steam super heater in the
utility section, reported on during the second half of 2006, has been the most
significant to date. This problem has since been successfully resolved.
Operating rates are currently also limited to levels lower than planned. The
biggest challenge preventing ramp-up to the planned production rate is a
higher than the design level of fine material that is produced in the process
and which then has to be handled downstream of the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) units.
This fine material is constraining the overall throughput of the downstream
units. A number of possible causes for this have been identified and plans are
in place to eliminate or remediate these over the coming months. The
installation of additional downstream equipment as a back-up solution to
increase throughput has already been initiated and this will be available for
implementation towards the middle of 2008.
Over the last fifty years Sasol has successfully developed, implemented and
operated several generations of large-scale synthetic fuel plants. Based on
this experience we are fully confident that the abovementioned challenges will
be overcome but in the interim they will unfortunately prolong the ramp-up
period. Until the production of fine material is reduced, the Oryx joint
venture will only generate a marginal cash contribution.
An update on Oryx`s performance will be provided at an appropriate time, but
no later than Sasol`s year end results presentation in September 2007.
"We are very pleased that the Oryx start-up has, despite these challenges,
demonstrated the potential of the world`s largest gas-to-liquids facility and
that the process produces world-class products. The remaining technical
challenges will be resolved as speedily as possible so that full production
can be achieved," said Lean Strauss, Group General Manager of Sasol
International Energy business.
Forward-looking statements: In this announcement we make certain statements
that are not historical facts and relate to analyses and other information
based on forecasts of future results not yet determinable, relating, amongst
other things, to exchange rate fluctuations, volume growth, increases in
market share, total shareholder return and cost reductions. These are forward-
looking statements as defined in the United States Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believe", "anticipate",
"intend", "seek", "will", "plan", "could", "may", "endeavour" and "project"
and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking
statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements.
Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and, if
one or more of these risks materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove
incorrect, actual results may be very different from those anticipated. The
factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from such
forward-looking statements are discussed more fully in our most recent annual
report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on Form 20-F filed on 2
November 2006 and in other filings with the United States Securities and
Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date on
which they are made, and Sasol does not undertake any obligation to update or
revise any of them, whether as a result of new information, future events or
22 May 2007
Issued by sponsor: Deutsche Securities (SA) (Proprietary) Limited
Date: 22/05/2007 08:30:01 Supplied by www.sharenet.co.za
Produced by the JSE SENS Department .