Sasol, a South African energy company, has announced that it will build America’s first commercial plant to convert natural gas to diesel and other liquid fuels.
Sasol is based in Johannesburg and has been a pioneer in the technology that produces liquid fuels without using oil, which has historically cost far more than natural gas.
The company had earlier built smaller plants in South Africa and Qatar, but has designed a new plant to be built in Louisiana that will produce 96,000 barrels of fuel a day using its “gas to liquids,” or G.T.L., technology. It will be the second-largest plant of its kind in the world, after Royal Dutch Shell’s Pearl plant in Qatar, and will cost $11 billion to $14 billion to build.
“By incorporating G.T.L. technology in the USA’s energy mix,” David Constable, Sasol’s Chief Executive, said in a statement, “states such as Louisiana will be able to advance the country’s energy independence through a diversification of supply.”
The facility will include a gas processing plant, a chemical plant and a refinery. All are required to perform the alchemy of converting natural gas into diesel, jet fuel and other chemical products.
Sasol estimates that the plant will create at least 1,200 permanent jobs and 7,000 construction jobs.