Sasol keen on developing gas-fired power capacity

Energy and chemicals group, Sasol, is looking to build a 3,000 MW gas-fired power facility in South Africa.

South Africa‘s government is planning to launch a gas-to-power procurement programme later this month, with bids expected in the first quarter of 2016.

Sasol announced this week that it had responded to the South African Department of Energy’s recent request for information and that it was also considering investment options along the entire gas-to-power “value chain”.
Executive VP Southern African Operations Bernard Klingenberg
The company already produces electricity using gas as a feedstock in Mozambique and at its Secunda and Sasolburg energy and chemical complexes in South Africa.

Executive VP Southern African Operations Bernard Klingenberg told Engineering News Online that it was currently in a position to meet about 70 per cent of its internal electricity needs and that it had also entered into power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Eskom for some of that production.

President and CEO David Constable indicated that the JSE-listed group could consider opportunities outside of electricity production, indicating that it might also play a role in the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and/or the regasification of that LNG. The imported gas, he indicated, could be supplied to gas-to-power independent power producers with plants of around 3 000 MW in size.

A recent McKinsey & Company study argued that South Africa should urgently pursue gas to bridge an electricity supply gap of between 6 GW and 10 GW that could arise by 2025 as older coal-fired power stations are decommissioned. However, the country’s Integrated Resource Plan for electricity, which was currently relatively light on gas, would also need to be updated for the country to take advantage of the opportunity.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said last week that gas was an “immediate focus” for government and promised that the long-awaited Gas Utilisation Master Plan, which would offer a road map for South Africa’s development of a gas industry, would be published soon.

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