Moret: La. may woo second gas-to-liquids manufacturer

Published 6:00 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One day after Sasol announced it will likely build the country’s first gas-to-liquids facility in Calcasieu Parish at a cost of up to $10 billion, Secretary Stephen Moret told the American Press on Wednesday that another such project could be coming to Louisiana, too.

“This is not the only GTL we are pursuing,” Moret said. “We’ve got a good shot of potentially getting a second one.”

Moret declined to name the involved company or say where the second complex would be located.

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The gas-to-liquids process, in which the manufacturer converts natural gas into products like kerosene and diesel, first attracted the attention of state officials several years ago, Moret said.

“We’ve been focused on GTL now in earnest for about two years now,” he said. “It’s the most exciting new opportunity.”

In Sasol’s case, construction of the proposed plant could lead to up to 5,000 permanent jobs, though Moret said he could see the figure rising.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if it were a little higher than that,” said Moret, who said such projects have a high rate of direct and indirect job creation.

Sasol said Tuesday that it plans to conduct an 18-month feasibility study before making a final decision to build the plant in Westlake. Moret said he was confident Sasol would ultimately build the plant in Calcasieu Parish, though he said the company had also considered a site in Canada.

Part of Sasol’s attraction to Louisiana, Moret said, was the state’s ability to assist in site selection.

Using Calcasieu Parish’s GIS — or Geographic Information Systems — mapping technology, Moret said the state was able to help Sasol slash up to six months off of its planning timetable.

“It really helped us get a leg up,” Moret said.