Sasol to open new Integrated GTL and Ethane Cracker complex

Largest Manufacturing Investment in Louisiana History to Create 7,000 Direct and Indirect Jobs

Dec. 3, 2012
Sasol will invest between $16-$21 billion in a new Integrated GTL and Ethane Cracker complex which is the first of its kind in the US.

Sasol, an energy and chemicals company based in South Africa, announced on Dec. 4 that it will build an integrated GTL and ethane cracker complex in Westlake, Louisiana.

"This project will be the largest single manufacturing investment in the history of Louisiana and it also represents one of the largest foreign direct investment manufacturing projects in the history of the entire United States," said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The complex will create 1,253 direct jobs resulting in an additional 5,886 new, indirect jobs, for a total of more than 7,000 direct and indirect jobs. Sasol also will retain 435 existing direct jobs in Westlake as a result of the project.

The project will consist of an integrated, 96,000 barrels-per-day (bb/d) GTL facility representing a capital investment of between $11 billion and $14 billion, as well as an ethane cracker representing a capital investment of $5 billion to $7 billion.

The GTL facility, the first of its kind in the U.S., will produce transportation fuels, including GTL diesel, as well as other value-adding chemical products. GTL diesel is a cleaner-burning, high-performance fuel with significant emission reduction benefits. GTL diesel can be used in existing vehicles and fuel delivery infrastructure without modifications.

"Never before in our nation's history has there been a greater call for energy independence, but that independence will only result from a meaningful application of innovative and practical solutions for new sources of energy," said Jindal. "This project is a giant step forward to help our country become more energy independent and less reliant on foreign sources of energy."

Including direct and indirect effects, the Sasol project will produce a total economic impact over the next 20 years of $46.2 billion, according to an economic impact study commissioned by LED and completed by the LSU Division of Economic Development. The project is also expected to create roughly 7,000 construction jobs.

The GTL project will be delivered in a phased approach, with phase one delivering the first 48,000 bb/d and phase two delivering the remaining production capacity. The ethane cracker will produce 1.5 million tons per annum of ethylene, one of the chemical industry's key buildings blocks for alcohol- and plastics-based products, including solvents, surfactants and polymers.

"These projects will unlock the potential of the continent's abundant natural gas resources," Sasol Ltd. CEO David Constable said. "By incorporating GTL technology into the USA's energy mix, states such as Louisiana will be able to advance the country's energy independence, through a diversification of supply."

For the past three years, Louisiana has actively cultivated GTL projects with Sasol and other leading energy companies around the world. In early 2011, LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, joined the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance and the Port of Lake Charles to identify potential sites in Southwest Louisiana using GIS mapping technology. 

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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