Petrochemicals giant Sasol South Africa has announced that it and Air Liquide have concluded negotiations for the proposed R8.5-billion sale of Sasol’s air separation units (ASUs) at the company’s operations in Secunda and the parties have now entered into a sale of business agreement.
Sasol has 16 ASUs on site and related assets with a combined capacity of up to 42 000 t/d of oxygen. The units provide oxygen for Sasol’s fuels and chemical production processes in Secunda. The ASUs also produce various other gases used at Secunda, and rare gases are sold externally.
Air Liquide already owns and operates a seventeenth ASU unit, while the other units will be taken over no earlier than December 1.
The employees related to the ASUs will be transferred to Air Liquide as part of the agreement.
Air Liquide will continue to supply various gases to Sasol’s operations under a long-term gas supply agreement, with an initial term of 15 years.
Sasol says Air Liquide’s expertise will allow, in coordination with Sasol, a targeted reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with oxygen production over time.
In addition to the sale agreement and the gas supply agreement, Sasol and Air Liquide also entered into various ancillary service and lease agreements, which will enable Sasol to sell key utilities to Air Liquide to enable continuous gas production.
The sale of the ASUs forms part of Sasol’s divestment programme announced in March. The company determined that selling the ASUs is an opportunity to deliver upfront cash proceeds, while contributing to improved efficiency and decarbonisation at the Secunda site.
Sasol would have spent between R8-billion and R12-billion over the next 15 years to sustain reliable ASU operations and to decarbonise.