South Africa to build Iran’s first GTL plant
Baku, Azerbaijan, March 6
By Fatih Karimov – Trend:
South Africa will manufacture Iran’s first GTL (Gas-to-liquids) plant, Marziyeh Shahdaei, Iran’s deputy oil minister said.
Shahdaei made the remarks following a meeting with visiting South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Petterson in Tehran March 5, Mehr news agency reported.
The draft agreement for construction of a GTL plant with a capacity of 50,000 barrels will be prepared soon, Shahdaei said.
She added that Research Institute of Petroleum Industry and a South African company had previously reached agreement to build a GTL complex in Iran and certain studies were also carried out.
According to Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, Iran’s oil minister, the issue of implementing GTL projects has been delayed so far due to disputes between the two parties over gas prices.
Producing GTL requires an advanced technology to convert natural gas or other gaseous hydrocarbons into longer-chain hydrocarbons such as gasoline or diesel fuel.
South Africa's energy giant Sasol was previously involved in discussions with Iran over the development of the country's first GTL project. However, Sasol eventually abandoned the scheme in 2006 as technicalities and outside pressures against it over its planned Iran investments mounted.
Shahdaei, who heads Iran’s National Petrochemical Company, said that construction of the GTL plant will become finalized once accurate economic and technical analyses are carried out.
She added that taking advantage of shared technologies could pave the path for further cooperation.
Joemat-Pettersson, for her part, forecasted that the contract for building a GTL plant will be signed during the upcoming visit of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to South Africa.
She expressed the South African government’s support for the country’s private sector companies, which are interested to cooperate with Iranian counterpart and conduct joint investments.
Heading an economic delegation, Joemat-Petterson arrived in Tehran on March 4.
She met with Zanganeh and discussed the future of the mutual cooperation in oil and gas sector.
Following the meeting, Zanganeh announced Iran’s readiness to export 100,000 barrels of crude oil per day to South Africa.
The African country was one of Iran's traditional oil markets before the sanctions were imposed on the Islamic Republic due to its disputed nuclear program.