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08 April 2009 / 10:50

On April 7 this year at the Oksaroy Residence in Tashkent President Islam Karimov received the president of the Malaysian Petronas Corporation Muhammad Hassan Marican and the president and chief executive officer of the South African Sasol Company Pat Davies.

“The cooperation of Uzbekistan with Petronas Corporation is gradually developing,” President Islam Karimov said, welcoming the top-level businessmen, “the successful implementation of a number of projects confirms that.”

During the State visit paid by President of Uzbekistan to Malaysia in October 2005 the Uzbekneftegaz National Holding Company and Petronas Corporation signed the Memorandum of Cooperation, as well as the agreement on the joint exploration of oil and gas deposits in Uzbekistan.

At the moment, the geological exploration works are being held at the Aral Sea basin on the Usturt Plateau, the northwest of Uzbekistan, and Surkhandarya investment blocks, the south of the country. The sides are about to launch the technical feasibility studies of the project that would involve the construction of a GTL-plant, the production facility to produce a synthetic fuel from purified methane-rich gas on the so-called “gas-to-liquids” (GTL) technology.

The total volume of investments the Petronas Corporation is going to make into Uzbekistan estimated at nearly 2 billion US dollars. The engineering, procurement and construction works shall be accomplished mainly by Sasol Company, the world leader in introducing such technologies.

Petronas is a transnational corporation with its presence at more than 30 countries around the world. Its operations encompass such areas as exploration and logging of the oil and gas deposits, processing and trading with oil products and LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) – the practices combined in a petrochemical dictionary as upstream and downstream works.

Uzbekistan and Petronas Corporation cooperate not only in the sphere of upstream and downstream works in implementing the oil and gas projects but also closely interact in cadres training for the oil and gas sector.

Headquartered in the city of Johannesburg, the capital city of the South African Republic, the Sasol Company was established in 1950. It operates both subsidiary and affiliate offices at more than 30 countries of the world and employs over 34,000 people. The company is listed on both the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Sasol Company is notable for its technologies on producing a synthetic fuel, also known as a synfuel from natural gas and coal in line with the so-called Fischer-Tropsch synthesis – the chemical reaction process conducted first by German scientists Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch in early 20s of the last century. The production of the synfuel from coal is mostly known among professionals as a CTL technology – “coal-to-liquids”.

The elaboration and commercialization of both CTL and GTL technologies has been preconditioned, according to Sasol itself, by the lack of oil and gas deposits on the territory of South Africa and the need to ensure the energy security of this one of the prosperous countries in the African continent.

Sasol is a leading company in the chemical research. It has accumulated a substantial experience not only in producing a synfuel, but also in the field of chemical industry, as a whole.

In 1999 the Sasol Company was the first in the world to certify the use of synthetic jet fuel in the mixture 50 to 50 along with usual oil jet fuel. In April 2008 the company again has been the first to certify the use of a 100-percent synthetic jet fuel. The aircraft flown using such fuel is known to emit relatively lower quantities of emission foul gases.

The construction of the GTL-CTL plant in Uzbekistan along with cooperation with Petronas and Sasol will serve for further development of the nation’s oil and gas industry, and particularly, growth of its potential in the sphere of petrochemistry.

At the Tashkent talks Muhammad Hassan Marican and Pat Davies have thanked the Uzbek Leader for a warm welcome and said that Petronas and Sasol had been interested in more engagement in the investment projects in Uzbekistan.

Ikboljon Soliev for the Information Agency “Jahon” in English