South African fuel company Sasol to sell stake in natural gas pipeline from LNG developer Mozambique

Monday, 17 May 2021
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Sasol, the South African petrochemicals, energy and fuels company, has agreed to sell a 30 percent in the natural gas pipeline running from future LNG exporter Mozambique into South Africa.

Sasol will retain a 20 percent holding and continue to operate and maintain the 865-kilometres Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Company (ROMCO) link currently transporting natural gas from the Pande and Temane fields in Mozambique to Sasol's operations in South Africa.

Both the Pande and Temane gas fields are onshore and are located around 600 kilometres north of the Mozambican capital Maputo and have been in production since 2004 and 2010 respectively.

However, Mozambique has other more lucrative natural gas fields in the Rovuma Basin offshore the northeast province of Cabo Delgado, though the main onshore LNG export project being developed there by France’s Total has been suspended for now because of insecurity in the region.

Sasol, the world’s leading producer of motor fuel made from coal, is attempting to cash in assets to pay off some of its huge debts.

Sasol said the sale would net around 5.14 billion South African rand ($363M) when completed by the end of the first half of 2021.

The purchasers are South African interests, including a subsidiary of the nation’s largest pension fund firm and insurer, Old Mutual.

“Sasol will retain a 20 percent shareholding in ROMPCO and will continue to operate and maintain the pipeline in terms of the commercial agreement between Sasol and ROMPCO, which is independent of the proposed transaction,” explained the South African energy company.

“Sasol´s agreements with ROMPCO to transport gas to the Secunda plant are unaffected by the proposed transaction and the tariffs remain as per the said agreements, which were approved by the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA),” it added.

Secunda CTL is a synthetic fuel plant and petrochemicals and power complex owned by Sasol at Secunda in Mpumalanga province, about 130 kilometres (80 miles) southeast of Johannesburg.

The plant uses coal liquefaction to produce petroleum-like synthetic crude oil from coal.

The Sasol name itself comes from the acronym for South African Synthetic Oil.

The CTL project had its roots in the Apartheid era in South Africa as one way of firstly partly circumventing the global oil supply crisis of the 1970s and then international sanctions.

The first synthetic oil plant in South Africa was opened about 50 years ago at Sasolburg, an industrial site in the north of Free State province chosen for its adjacent coalfields and abundant water supplies from the Vaal River.

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