South Africa moves to gas

Jul 29, 1997 02:00 AM

July 16, 1997 Sasol Gas is making steady inroads into the formerly unexplored field of supplying methane-rich gas to industries in Natal. The most visible sign recently was the announcement that it had secured a multi-million rand contract to supply gas to power Gencor Ltd's (GMFJ.J) Alusaf Hillside smelter in Richards Bay.
Sasol Synthetic Fuels (SSF) near Secunda is planning to invest 280 million rand to increase its gas production by about 5 % while Sasol Gas plans to invest 100 million rand in a two-stage gas pipeline project in Durban South. According to the latest issue of Sasol Digest, SSF's gas production facilities are being upgraded to process an extra 1.2 million tonnes of coal from Secunda Collieries, run by Sasol Mining. The upgrade will include the 144 million rand replacement of the methanol wash towers at SSF's Rectisol plant, which is expected to be completed by September 1998. The plant removes H2S and CO2 from raw gas to produce a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The first stage of the Durban project will enable Sasol Gas to supply gas to customers in the greater Durban Mayhead industrial areas of Jacobs, Mobeni and Merebank. Sasol Gas divisional manager Wikus Kritzinger said this would stimulate the local economy because gas was a highly competitive source of energy. It would also reduce pollution. About 40 customers are expected to go on line once the first stage of the project is commissioned.
Between November 1997 and April 1997, several major industries north of Durban converted to gas after Sasol Gas and Transet Ltd subsidiary Petronet had invested 85 million rand in a pipeline project to supply them.
The International Energy Agency last year reported that gas was relatively under-used as an energy source in South Africa and that there was potential for its wider use, especially if it was piped into South Africa from Mozambique's Pande and Namibia's Kudu gas fields.
Sasol Petroleum International (SPI) is negotiating a production sharing agreement with Mozambique's state oil company, Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos de Mozambique, for crude oil and natural gas in the onshore Mazenga block. The block straddles the provinces of Inhambane and Gaza in Southern Mozambique about 250 km north of Maputo. SPI and Phillips Petroleum South Africa Ltd, have signed a prospecting sub-lease agreement with state-owned oil company Soekor E&P to explore for crude oil and gas in Block 17/18 stretching from Durban to the border with Mozambique.

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