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Gas plant waiting game

Sasol Chevron says the announcement by Methanex to locate its proposed methanol project on the Burrup Peninsula will not affect decisions concerning its own planned gas-to-liquids plant.

Methanex and the North West Shelf venture have signed a memorandum of agreement for gas supply covering 25 years, but a Sasol Chevron spokes-person said Sasol Chevron also had a preferred supplier and a preferred site.

But Sasol Chevron would not be making any announcements until it was sure of the fiscal and regulatory regimes that would apply to its proposed synthetic fuels project.

A Federal Government GTL taskforce reported to Industry, Science and Resources Minister Nick Minchin in late September, but with the Federal election called soon after, a Government response has been put on hold.

Sasol Chevron said it had a number of options, including a preferred site for each potential supplier, but despite having been in “detailed negotiations”, would not settle on a gas price and site until it was sure of a Federal Government approach to the industry.

The South African-US joint partnership, established in 2000 to develop GTL projects worldwide, is still maintaining a 12-employee office in Perth.

The company said it welcomed the Methanex announcement in that it raised the profile of GTL technology and made local projects more real, adding methanol production and Sasol Chevron’s clean diesel venture were not opposing industries.

Chevron is an equal one-sixth partner in the NWS LNG project, produces gas off the Onslow-Dampier coasts, from Barrow and Thevenard Islands, and is developing the Gorgon gas fields 100 kilometres north-west of Onslow.

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