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Sasol's new gas-powered plant shows Eskom how it's done

by , 12 July 2013

South Africa's power supply is under huge strain. And with news that there's going to be a delay in getting Eskom's Medupi Power Station on line, it's clear the country's current electricity deficit is only going to get worse. Now Sasol's latest gas powered plant is putting the electricity giant to shame by showing Eskom how to complete a project ahead of schedule…

Eskom made waves on Monday when Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba announced that the group’s flagship power plant, Medupi, wouldn’t have its first power unit online until the middle of 2014, rather than the end of December as planned, reports FSP Invest.

The electricity giant has apparently blamed ‘sabotage’ by construction companies as part of the reason for the delay.

While this delay will put South Africa’s national power grid under even further stress, perhaps Eskom should take a leaf out of Sasol’s book in how to complete a project on time.

Delivery of Sasol’s latest venture puts Eskom to shame

Earlier this week, “Sasol unveiled the country's biggest energy plant using gas engines. The Sasolburg Gas Engine Power Plant took 1.4-million man-hours to complete. It houses 680 tonnes of steel, 170km of cable, and 10km of piping and ducting,” reports the Mail & Guardian.

Not only did Sasol complete this feat 20% under budget, it also had the job done three months before its deadline.

Meanwhile, the Medupi delay will push up Eskom’s project costs from an original estimate of R91.2 billion to R150 billion, reports Mail & Guardian. That’s a whopping 64% cost increase. Not to mention the effect the delay will have on consumers and the economy alike.

But how much energy will this new Sasol plant produce?

According to Sasol, the gas plant’s output capacity is enough to supply 200,000 households (that’s roughly the size of Bloemfontein) with electricity.

While small in comparison to Eskom's coal-fuelled Medupi Station, it’s still a significant venture.

The reason?

Not only will the “power generated by the facility be utilised by a chemical plant that is closer to Sasol’s gas engine, it is understood that the national electricity grid will be served with half of the power generated from this engine,” reports ventures-africa.com.

Even more significant, according to Lean Strauss, Senior Group Executive, International Energy, New Business Development and Technology: “This plant [will] begin to ease our load on the national grid and contribute to our own energy efficiency targets. We are proud of this new facility and it demonstrates how we can add versatility to natural gas,” adds 4-traders.com.

Sasol's new gas-powered plant shows Eskom how it's done
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