S. Africa Willing to Transfer GTL Technology

S. Africa Willing to  Transfer GTL TechnologyS. Africa Willing to  Transfer GTL Technology

South Africa is willing to cooperate with Iran in refining sectors and boost liquefied natural gas exports from this country, South Africa's deputy energy minister said on Saturday.

Thembisile C. Majola made the statement in Tehran on the sidelines of her negotiations with Mansour Moazzami, Iran's deputy oil minister for planning and supervision, IRNA reported.

Stressing South Africa's state-of-the-art knowhow in gas to liquids sector—aka GTL, Majola said, "There is no restriction on transferring the technology to Iran where it can be used to help boost LNG production as Iran has huge gas reserves."

Gas to liquids is a refinery process to convert natural gas or other gaseous hydrocarbons into longer-chain hydrocarbons such as gasoline or diesel fuel. Methane-rich gases are converted into liquid  fuels  via direct conversion.

"LNG plays a crucial role in South Africa's energy basket. In addition, Pretoria will count on Tehran to provide the much-needed crude for its new refineries," she said.

According to Majola, a majority of her country's refineries are run by famous oil giants such as BP, Total and Chevron, which can start buying crude from Iran should South Africa's Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson negotiate with them.

"After imposing sanctions on Tehran, some of our companies had to not only go for other energy sources but adapt their installations to new kinds of crude," she said.

Highlighting her country's readiness to invest in Iran's LNG projects, Majola said, "Plans have been made to pave the way for the private enterprises' contribution in these projects. Nevertheless, some state companies can also cooperate with Iran in this regard."

South Africa's energy minister made a trip to Tehran in May during which the two states decided to expand their ties in the oil sector.  

"South Africa is aiming for a framework of cooperation with Iran regarding crude oil, LNG, gas and petrochemicals," Joemat-Pettersson was quoted as saying by Shana during a visit to Tehran.

According to Moazzami, South Africa has been one of Iran's traditional customers and imported 380,000 barrels per day from Iran prior to sanctions. Underscoring South Africa's cooperation with Iran in petrochemical projects, Moazzami said, "Sasol, the world’s biggest coal-to-gasoline producer, has expressed its willingness to return to Iran's petrochemical industry." 

Iran and six major world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal on July 14, clearing the way for an easing of international sanctions on Tehran and a rise in oil exports.