Sasol Chevron Embarks on South Africa to Qatar Challenge to Test GTL Fuel

Sasol Chevron, the joint venture between Chevron Corporation and South African petrochemical company Sasol Limited, an innovative and competitive global energy company, today launched an unprecedented challenge to showcase its cleaner, greener GTL (gas-to-liquid) diesel fuel technology.

The Sasol Chevron GTL Challenge will see a team of twelve men and women embarking on a symbolic journey from Sasolburg, South Africa to Qatar, to signal the inauguration of the Oryx GTL plant in Qatar on 6th June.

John Gass, President of Chevron Global Gas and Sasol Chevron Chairman of the Board, said: “Drawing on cutting edge technology, Sasol Chevron is delivering a high-performing, ultra clean fuel from natural gas. Throughout this challenging trip, we will be demonstrating the fuel's capabilities and performance under some of the world's toughest road conditions - the same fuel that may be used in existing diesel engines. We're excited about the future of GTL.”

The team has been challenged by Sasol Chevron to complete the 11,000 km journey, across six countries in Africa and some of the toughest conditions on the planet, in 46 days, arriving in Doha, Qatar by 5th June for the official opening of the US$950 million ORYX GTL production facility.

One of the team's five vehicles, a Toyota Hilux Raider, dubbed African Renaissance – highlighting the African continent's growing influence on the world's energy industry – will be fuelled from beginning to end with GTL (gas-to-liquid) diesel fuel from Sasol's plant in Sasolburg. The GTL fuel burns significantly cleaner than conventional diesel and provides superior performance.

George Couvaras, Sasol Chevron CEO, said “Sasol Chevron is proud to be involved in the marketing of the GTL products from the ORYX plant. We are developing markets and applications that take advantage of the unique properties of the fuel and position it in its rightful place as the benchmark for high quality diesel”.

Sasol's Chief Executive Pat Davies added: “We want to show the world that our new GTL diesel burns significantly cleaner and exceeds every performance standard of conventional oil derived diesel fuel. I warmly thank our partner Qatar Petroleum for helping us build on what we have developed in South Africa – creating in Qatar the world's largest and most technologically advanced GTL plant.”

People round the world will be encouraged to follow this personal and technological challenge online at a new website – – detailing the progress of the trip with downloadable broadcasts of the team's personal experiences while travelling through Eastern Africa to Doha.

A joint venture between the state-owned petroleum company Qatar Petroleum (51%) and Sasol (49%), ORYX GTL in Qatar is the first low-temperature Fischer-Tropsch GTL plant outside South Africa dedicated to the production of new generation GTL diesel and the world's first commercial GTL facility. The plant will use Sasol's proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technology. London-based Sasol Chevron will market the high-quality, environmentally-friendly GTL diesel worldwide later this year.

GTL diesel dovetails neatly into tighter environmental controls and increased diesel consumption in many parts of the world. In markets such as the US, Europe, Japan and Australia the maximum permissible sulphur content in diesel has plummeted from 5 000 parts per million (ppm) 15 years ago to as little as 10 ppm today. This GTL diesel has a sulphur content of less than 5 parts per million and has been developed entirely at the Sasol plant in Sasolburg. It provides superior performance to diesel engines while reducing emissions.

The ORYX GTL plant will scale up over the next few months to convert gas from the North Field in the Gulf into 34,000 bpd of liquid hydrocarbons (mainly GTL diesel). In conjunction with Sasol Chevron and Qatar Petroleum, the intention is to increase the plant's capacity to more than 100,000 bpd. The partners are also exploring building an integrated GTL plant with a capacity of about 130,000 bpd in the future.

Also under construction is the Escravos GTL (EGTL) plant in Nigeria. It is being built by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL). Sasol Chevron is licensing the technology from Sasol and will provide the technology, engineering services and engineering support needed to take the project through the engineering, procurement and construction phase.

The world has abundant natural gas resources, and GTL offers gas-producing countries a way to commercialize their resources while meeting a growing need for clean transportation fuels. Sasol Chevron is fostering the development of a GTL industry and global markets for GTL by designing, building and operating plants throughout the world to manufacture and market alternative fuels and products.

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