JOHANNESBURG Nov 8 Sasol (SOLJ.J), the world's
biggest maker of motor fuel from coal, said on Thursday it would
in 2008 complete a pre-feasibility study on an 80,000
barrels-per-day coal-to-liquids (CTL) facility in South Africa.
Sasol has previously said the feasibility study on the
project named Mafutha, the Zulu word for oil, would examine the
availability of sufficient coal reserves, power supply, possible
plant locations, fuel demand growth and other logistics.
"The pre-feasibility study is expected to be completed
during 2008," Sasol's chief executive Pat Davies said.
"On Project Mafutha, we continue to work closely with
government to advance the construction of a CTL plant in a
coal-rich inland region as another option in maintaining a
measure of self-sufficiency in future energy supply."
Sasol, which produces about 150,000 bpd of motor and
industrial fuels, already supplies about 35 percent of South
Africa's liquid fuel needs from its coal-to-liquids refinery at
Secunda, to the north of the country.
This project is to be built is in line with recommendations
made by a special task team set up by the Minister of Minerals
and Energy to investigate strategic options to avoid future
energy constraints after national fuel shortages hit the country
in December 2005.
"If it goes ahead, Project Mafutha could add around half of
the fuel volumes of our Secunda plant to the country's supply,"
Davies said, adding that given the acceleration in energy demand
expected in South Africa, capacity expansion in our domestic
market presented an attractive opportunity for Sasol's growth.
Sasol last month said it had ordered a reactor to increase
its synthetic fuels output at Secunda to 180,000 barrels per day
Sasol reiterated that it was projecting capital expenditure
of about 50 billion rand ($7.63 billion) over the next three
years, of which about half is in Southern Africa.
(Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Louise Ireland)