Integrated energy and chemicals company Sasol’s flagship Oryx gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility has sustained a solid performance, with an average use rate of 90% for the 2015 financial year.
The Oryx GTL plant, a joint venture (JV) between South African energy and chemicals group Sasol and Qatari State-owned Qatar Petroleum, is located in the Ras Laffan industrial city, in Qatar. The plant is the world’s first commercial-scale GTL facility and uses Sasol proprietary GTL technology to convert natural gas into liquid fuel and chemical products.
“This performance was in line with market guidance provided, despite an earlier-than-planned shutdown during December 2014 to January 2015,” said Sasol CFO Bongani Nqwababa at the group’s year-end financial results, which took place last month in Johannesburg.
He added that the group’s expectations for the plant’s 2016 performance was an average use rate of more than 87% of nameplate capacity, taking a statutory shutdown into account.
Meanwhile, Oryx GTL received three awards earlier this year for its record in environmental, health and safety, and community activities.
“Oryx GTL believes in safety beyond zero and is taking safety awareness to new heights through its community programmes and partnerships,” the company notes.
The plant received a gold award from the American Society of Safety Engineers-Gulf Cooperation Council (ASSE GCC) Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Excellence Awards 2015. The award scheme is devised to recognise and reward GCC private-sector organisations that have been successful over the course of the year in managing workplace risks, development and performance of its HSE management system, besides conducting ethical business.
The announcement and prize-giving took place in April at the yearly HSE Excellence Awards 2015 ceremony, organised by the ASSE Kuwait Chapter, in Kuwait.
“The gold award acknowledges our continued commitment to safety and the hard work of all employees, contractors and stakeholders,” says Sasol, noting that this award was also the first time that Oryx GTL received recognition of this type from an organisation that operates beyond the Gulf region.
Locally, Oryx GTL won the Qatar Chamber award for the most outstanding company in terms of health and safety practices in the oil and gas sector. The awards were announced at the Qatar Chamber event to mark World Day for Occupational Safety and Health at Work, which took place in April.
Oryx GTL also received a special excellence award for its corporate social responsibility work and support for the Qatar National Vision 2030.
In 2014, Oryx GTL celebrated its achievement of a zero total recordable injury rate (TRIR) for the third consecutive year. The company, which takes an organisationwide, zero-compromise approach to safety, is one of a few energy companies in the world to have ever reached this zero TRIR benchmark.
Oryx GTL celebrated this world-class safety milestone with a ceremony held under the patronage and in the presence of Qatar Energy and Industry Minister and Oryx GTL board of directors chairperson Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada.
Other dignitaries from Qatar, as well as a high-level delegation from the company’s JV partner Sasol and the Oryx GTL board of directors and executives, also attended the ceremony.
Al-Sada congratulated Oryx GTL for its strong commitment to safety. “This exemplary effort and admirable achievement is a result of its dedicated efforts that started in 2009, when the Road to Zero Harm [initiative] was launched as an ambitious campaign [to promote] best-in-class safety practices,” he said.
However, Al-Sada added that, when it came to safety, “the job is never done”. He further emphasised the importance of the company remaining ahead in its health and safety and environmental protection efforts. “[We need] to continue to set world-class safety benchmarks to safeguard the wellbeing of our people and the communities within which [we] work and operate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sasol president and CEO David Constable noted that Oryx GTL, being “a model of exemplary performance”, epitomised the successful application of technology, operational excellence and commitment to safety.
The company further stated on its website: “Oryx GTL’s latest zero TRIR milestone reflects not only its commitment to the highest safety standards, but also highlights its adherence to the principles of sustainability, a key pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2011–2016.”
To achieve its vision, Oryx GTL invests extensive hours of training, coaching and working with employees and contractors to ensure safer working practices and environments.
“This effectively embeds in the hearts and minds of employees its philosophy of safety as a way of life and forms part of the com- pany’s Safety Beyond Zero Harm campaign . . . thereby helping to define and ensure the use of best practices to manage safety and health issues,” concludes Qatar GTL.