Back to Home page
Salof  Web pages
Australia water 1200km Burdekin Dam to Brisbane
$7.5billion project or desalination
Argentina, Uruguay to Join Oil Project in Venezuela
Zone of the Orinoco Belt, a region rich in heavy and extra-heavy crude oil
Brazil and Venezuela Agree on Joint Oil Venture
CVP 60 % Petrobras 36 % Hugo Chavez create regional consortium
Caracas seek to expand business with Asia, notably China
Southern Union Phase II LNG Terminal Expansion
the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in North America.
Cheniere Can Begin Sabine Pass LNG Expansion
(LNG) receiving terminal from 2.6 (Bcf/d) to 4 Bcf/d
Oman strong oil growth 2 LNG trains
Gazprom Begins Drilling Well 7 in Shtokman Field
550 km from the Kola Peninsula in 340 meters of water
Ecuador, Colombia Agree on Energy Cooperation
partnership exploration refining production, transportation, storage, and sale of oil products
Kazakhstan Opens First CIS Oil Pipeline to China
Sinopec buys Udmurtneft oil co Volga forUS$3.8 bln
CNPC bought US$500-mln stake in Rosneft
Zimbabwe mulls gas plants CBM
but will result in the production of synthetic fuel
KNOC Deal with Newmont Mining on Oil Sands Leases
The ministry said KNOC won the deal over Chinese and Indian companies worth $270 million
Petrobras Invest US$10.2bn in Sao Paulo from 2007-11
overall strategic investment program is pegged at US$87.1bn
      <>><<____________Volume 106:64-July-25-2006________________><<><><>><
           >><<<<_____Editor: Charlie Bartholomew, kryopak@qwest.net_____<>><<
Petrobras to Invest US$10.2bn in Sao Paulo from 2007-11
overall strategic investment program is pegged at US$87.1bn BNAmericas 7/24/2006

Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) plans to invest US$10.2bn in Sao Paulo state from January 2007-December 2011, company CEO Jose Gabrielli told industry leaders in Sao Paulo. The US$10.2bn is part of the company's revised strategic investment plan."This is just direct investment and does not include orders to Sao Paulo-based companies from investment outside the state," Gabrielli said during a presentation of Petrobras' 2007-11 strategic investment plan at the federation of Sao Paulo industries.

The company's overall strategic investment program is pegged at US$87.1bn, of which US$75bn will be invested in Brazil. Investments in Sao Paulo will represent 14% of domestic spending.

Although Sao Paulo is Brazil's most industrialized state and accounts for roughly one-third of the country's 1.3tn-real (US$590bn) GDP, Rio de Janeiro state attracts the most oil money.

Petrobras' two largest investments in Sao Paulo are for refining and E&P, attracting US$4.5bn and US$3.3bn respectively, Gabrielli said. In refining, the company will invest to expand capacity - including that of heavy crude - and improve product quality.  "We want to raise Brazilian heavy crude to 90% of our refining capacity from current levels of 80%," he said.   The investments will go to four refineries, which account for 42% of Petrobras' total refining capacity of 2 million barrels a day: Replan, Revap, RPBC and Recap.

In E&P, Petrobras will invest to develop fields in the Santos basin. The company has earmarked some US$10bn for the basin through 2015. Petrobras is developing the Mexilhao field, which is projected to produce some 15 million cubic meters a day (Mm3/d) of gas after 2011, and BS-500, where the company recently discovered oil and gas. "We cannot speed up these projects because of constraints on equipment," Gabrielli said. "The platform for Mexilhao, for example, needs to be shipped [in specialized ships] from Rio de Janeiro and I won't have a ship available to do this until 2008."

The third largest investment item is US$1.5bn for the ethanol and oil transport pipelines. Petrobras is already investing in the oil pipeline linking the Campos basins to the Sao Paulo refineries. In addition, the company is performing studies to build a pipeline to carry ethanol from producing regions in inland Goias state to downstream terminals in Paulinia and ports in Santos to export ethanol. Petrobras also will invest US$429mn to expand the state's gas pipeline network and another US$191mn to convert thermo plants to run on more than one fuel.

Another US$256mn will go on downstream operations as part the company plan to increase fuel retail subsidiary BR Distribuido's domestic market share beyond 34%. "We could do this through growth or through acquisitions," said Gabrielli, without giving details. "There are a couple of hundred small fuel distributors in Brazil which could help BR increase its market presence."

Finally, the company plans to invest US$88mn in a polypropylene production unit in Sao Paulo.
Argentina, Uruguay to Join Oil Project in Venezuela
Zone of the Orinoco Belt, a region rich in heavy and extra-heavy crude oil
Efe 7/24/2006

The state-owned oil companies of Argentina and Uruguay will join Venezuelan giant PDVSA in a project to extract crude from the Orinoco Belt in southern Venezuela under a deal formalized Friday in Cordoba, Argentina, during the summit of the Mercosur trade bloc. The agreement was signed by Venezuelan energy chief Rafael Ramirez, Argentine Planning Minister Julio De Vido, and the vice president of Uruguay's state-run oil company, Raul Sendic.

The accord provides for joint exploitation of Block Six of the Mariscal Ayachucho zone of the Orinoco Belt, a region rich in heavy and extra-heavy crude oil.

Participating in the venture will be PDVSA, Argentina's Enarsa, and the Uruguayan state conglomerate ANCAP.

According to the terms of the deal, PDVSA will retain 51 percent of all crude extracted, while the other 49 percent will be divided between Argentina and Uruguay.

ANCAP President Daniel Martinez told EFE from Montevideo that the idea had been in the works for months and that previously there had been plans for Chile to participate rather than Argentina.

It is still not precisely known how much crude lies buried in Block Six, but Martinez said that, according to preliminary estimates, Uruguay could net some 50,000 barrels per day.

For his part, De Vido told reporters that Enarsa will gain access to the crude via contracts with private companies, "which are the ones that will invest in developing the oilfields with the approval of PDVSA, which is the owner."

It is estimated that it will be at least four years before oil starts flowing from Block Six.
Venezuela, the world's fifth-leading oil exporter, is the No. 3 supplier to the United States. The spike in global prices over the past several years has made it economically feasible to develop the Andean nation's massive reserves of heavy crude, which is more expensive both to extract and to refine into fuels.

Venezuela gained formal admittance this week to Mercosur, whose four founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, on the strength of its vast oil and gas reserves and of a major charm offensive mounted by Caracas.
KNOC Inks Deal with Newmont Mining on Oil Sands Leases
The ministry said KNOC won the deal over Chinese and Indian companies worth $270 million
by  Jun Yang, Dow Jones Newswires July 25, 2006

South Korea's Korea National Oil Corp. signed a deal Monday with Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) to acquire a 100% stake in BlackGold oil sands leases in Alberta, Canada, South Korea's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said Monday. The deal is worth $270 million, the ministry said in a statement.

Newmont Mining's BlackGold leases acquired by the state-owned oil company contain oil reserves of around 250 million barrels, the ministry said. Early this month, people familiar with the negotiations told Dow Jones Newswires that KNOC was among the frontrunners to acquire the leases. The ministry said KNOC won the deal over Chinese and Indian companies. But the deal is worth less than the initially estimated $600 million.

According to the ministry, KNOC plans to start building production facilities in 2008, and from around 2010, produce a maximum of 35,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which would represent 30% of the total daily output of the country's current overseas crude assets. Oil sands are a mixture of sand and clay that contain crude bitumen, which can be refined into crude oil. Producing crude from oil sands is costly, but high oil prices have made production more economically feasible.
Gazprom Begins Drilling Well 7 in Shtokman Field
550 km from the Kola Peninsula in 340 meters of water
Gazprom 7/24/2006

Gazprom's subsidiary, Sevmorneftegaz, has begun drilling exploration well number seven in the Barents Sea located Shtokman gas condensate field.The drilling operations are being conducted in line with the licensing commitments. The field reserves are expected to be potentially increased based on the drilling results.

Well number seven is located 550 km from the Kola Peninsula. The well is in approximately 340 meters of water.

The drilling customer is ZAO Sevmorneftegaz, which holds licenses for geological exploration and production of gas & condensate in the Shtokman field. The general contractor is OOO Gazflot (a wholly owned subsidiary of OAO Gazprom). The well is being drilled with the Deepsea Delta semisub provided on a contractual basis by Norsk Hydro.

The Shtokman gas condensate field is located in the central part of the Russian sector of the Barents Sea offshore.

Approved in January 2006 by the RF Nature Ministry's State Commission for Mineral Reserves, Shtokman's C1+C2 reserves account for 3.7 tcm and over 31 mln t of gas and condensate, respectively.

One of the world's largest gas condensate fields, Shtokman is being prepared for development and further marketing of liquefied natural gas to the USA and other countries.
Australia water 1200km from Burdekin Dam to Brisbane
$7.5billion project or desalination

Asa Wahlquist and Tony Koch July 25, 2006
WATER piped from far north Queensland to parched Brisbane would cost at least five times more than the rate consumers are currently charged in the state capital.
The energy needed to pump the water 1200km from the Burdekin Dam to Brisbane would also generate massive levels of greenhouse gases. After announcing a $2 million-plus feasibility study for the $7.5billion project on Sunday, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie yesterday defended his approach to water policy. The Australian Water Association's Chris Davis estimated that water delivered from the 98 per cent full Burdekin Dam to Brisbane would cost $4.50 a kilolitre. "That is raw water so it would have to be treated when it hit Brisbane," Mr Davis said, a process that would add another $1 a kilolitre at least to the price.

"A desalination plant of equivalent capacity is of the order of $1 a kilolitre so it is definitely a lot cheaper just to go desal."

Brisbane residents pay 91c a kilolitre for the first 200kilolitres used, rising to $1.20 for each kilolitre over 300 kilolitres.

Mr Davis said the pipeline would need to be 2.4m in diameter. The water, which weighs one tonne per kilolitre, would travel at one metre per second, "which is quite fast for water, but it would still take 16 days to get from Townsville to Brisbane". "It takes a lot of energy to push it and the faster you push it, the more energy you use," he said. Mr Davis said amortising the $7.5 billion capital cost over 40 years, plus the annual $250 million operating costs, would result in a cost of $675 million a year.

Don Blackmore, the former head of the Murray Darling Basin Commission, was a member of the expert panel that reported this year on options for bringing water from the Kimberley to Perth, including piping it.
"The energy in the pipeline was much higher than the energy required for desalination. If you put water in a constricted space like a pipeline, you have to drive it through it. It doesn't run by gravity," Mr Blackmore said. The panel found that the energy needed was 5.8 kilowatt hours per kilolitre. Over 50 years, the 1900km pipeline, transporting 200 billion litres of water a year, would produce 0.6 million tonnes of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Mr Blackmore said the cost of desalination was going down, but the cost of piping was going up. "If we get the membrane technology in desal sorted, which is highly likely, it is possible it will drop the price down to 55c or 60c a kilolitre," Mr Blackmore said.

Mr Davis said the longest pipeline in the world was the 2000km so-called great man-made river in Libya. "It transports groundwater across the desert. It has been under construction for about 20 years, so it is a huge project," he said.

While delivering the total project was not currently financially feasible, Mr Beattie said his Government had an obligation to set aside land should a future government decide to proceed with such a project. "What we are doing is building this in pieces," Mr Beattie said. "There is a pipeline going (220km from the Burdekin Dam in north Queensland) to Moranbah now. There will be pipelines built to service particular regional communities and we will then hopefully link them all up if it is feasible.
"The important thing is we have to set aside easements so if, in 20, 30, 50 years' time, we do not have to go and remove somebody's house, some mining venture - they will know that is a dedicated easement for the water pipeline."
Brazil and Venezuela Agree on Joint Oil Venture
CVP 60 % Petrobras 36 % Hugo Chavez create regional consortium
Caracas seek to expand business with Asia, notably China
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) 7/21/2006

Venezuela has agreed a joint venture with Brazil for the exploitation of oil fields in Venezuela, Venezuela's state oil company announced Thursday.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) said the new venture, Petrowayu, would operate La Concepcion oil field in the western state of Zulia, which produces 12,300 barrels of crude oil per day. Plans are to increase of the field's extraction of oil.

The deal was agreed between representatives of the Venezuelan Oil Corp. (CVP), a subsidiary of PDVSA, and Brazilian state oil company Petrobras. Thursday's agreement was the first of four joint contracts planned. Petrobras Venezuela's President, Gerson Fernandes, said the contract was a sign of "confidence not only between both countries but also between these companies and between the people."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has sought to create a regional energy consortium to counter the influence of foreign energy companies and the United States on Venezuelan oil exports. Caracas is also seeking to expand its business with Asia, notably China.

CVP will have 60 percent of the joint venture capital and Petrobras 36 percent, with the remaining portion going to a smaller Venezuelan oil company.
FERC: Cheniere Can Begin Sabine Pass LNG Expansion
(LNG) receiving terminal from 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 4 Bcf/d
Cheniere Energy, Inc. 7/21/2006

Cheniere Energy, Inc. said Thursday that it has received authorization from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to commence site preparation construction activities to expand the capacity of its Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving terminal from 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 4 Bcf/d

Through its wholly owned limited partnership, Sabine Pass LNG, L.P., Cheniere commenced construction on the Sabine Pass LNG receiving terminal in March 2005. Located in western Cameron Parish, La., initial start-up of the 2.6-Bcf/d facility is targeted for early 2008. In July 2005, Sabine submitted an application to the FERC seeking authorization to expand the terminal's capacity to 4 Bcf/d, which was approved in June 2006. The expansion is planned to be completed in 2009.

Cheniere is developing a platform of three, 100%-owned LNG receiving terminal projects along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The three terminals will have an aggregate send-out capacity of 9.9 Bcf/d. Cheniere plans to leverage its terminal platform by pursuing related LNG business opportunities both upstream and downstream of the terminals. Cheniere is also the founder and holds a 30% limited partner interest in a fourth LNG receiving terminal, is a partner in an LNG shipping venture, and engages in oil and gas exploration in the shallow waters of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

Cheniere is based in Houston, Texas, with offices in Johnson Bayou, La., and Paris, France.
Ecuador, Colombia Agree on Energy Cooperation
partnership exploration refining production, transportation, storage, and sale of oil products
Xinhua News Agency 7/21/2006

Meeting in Quito on Wednesday, Ecuadorian and Colombian officials signed an agreement on energy cooperation that will form a strategic alliance between the oil companies of the two nations. Under the agreement, a joint venture of the two biggest national oil companies of the two countries will be established in order to facilitate a comprehensive partnership in oil exploration and refining, along with the production, transportation, storage, and sale of oil products.

At the signing ceremony, Ecuadorian Minister of Energy and Mines Ivan Rodriguez said the agreement indicated his government's determination to promote and accelerate its national oil industry and to involve itself actively in the international oil market.

Colombia's Mines and Energy Minister Luis Ernesto Mejia said Colombia will provide technological assistance to help Ecuador overcome its difficulties with oil production and services.

Mejia said Colombia will also study the possibility of establishing a bi-national or multi-national oil complex to refine the crude oil produced in Ecuador.
Southern Union Completes Phase II Expansion of LNG Terminal
the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in North America.
Southern Union Co. 7/21/2006

Southern Union Co. said that it has completed the Phase II expansion of its Trunkline LNG Co. terminal, which is the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in North America.

The Phase II expansion increased sendout capacity at the terminal to 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) and increased peak sendout capacity to 2.1 Bcf/d. The Phase II expansion also included the construction of unloading capabilities at the terminal's second dock.

This expansion comes on the heels of the Phase I expansion, which included the addition of a second ship berth and a new LNG storage tank that increased terminal storage capacity to 9 billion cubic feet and was placed in service on April 5. The additional vaporization capacity in Phase I, which increased sendout capability to 1.2 Bcf/d with peak capacity of 1.5 Bcf/d , was placed in service in the fall of 2005.

The capacity of the Phase I and Phase II expansions, in addition to the terminal's original base capacity, is fully contracted to BG LNG Services, L.L.C., a subsidiary of U.K.-based BG Group, under long-term agreements through 2028.

In order to increase takeaway capacity from the LNG terminal, Southern Union's Trunkline Gas Co. built a second 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline from the LNG terminal to Trunkline's existing mainline between Kaplan, La., and Longville, La. This pipeline, which went into service in July 2005, increased takeaway capacity from the terminal to 2.1 Bcf/d.

"Completing the Phase II expansion is a major milestone for Southern Union," said Rob Bond, senior vice president of pipeline operations for Southern Union and president of Panhandle Energy. "The Trunkline LNG terminal has the highest sendout capacity of any terminal in the country, and the completion of this expansion allows Trunkline LNG to maintain its position as one of the most modern and competitively-priced providers of regasification capacity in the United States."

As previously announced, Trunkline LNG also has another expansion planned for the terminal. The next project, the infrastructure enhancement project, is designed to increase fuel efficiency and cost savings using the ambient air temperature to warm and regasify the LNG. Trunkline LNG also will build a natural gas liquids (NGL) extraction plant at the terminal in order to increase product flexibility.

The addition of NGL extraction equipment will give BG LNG Services, Trunkline LNG's customer, the ability to extract ethane and other heavier hydrocarbons from the LNG stream before the gas is sent to the interstate pipeline network and delivered to downstream markets. Due to the world wide variability in the composition of LNG, adding the ability to extract natural gas liquids will allow BG LNG to import supply from more diverse locations. These enhancements are planned to be in service in mid-2008.

BG Group plc is a global natural gas business. Active on five continents in more than 20 countries, it operates four business segments: Exploration and Production, LNG, Transmission and Distribution, and Power.

In the U.S., BG LNG Services (BGLS) holds, through 2028, 100 percent of the capacity rights at North America's largest operating LNG importation terminal, Lake Charles in Louisiana. This has the capability to receive, store, vaporize, and deliver an average daily send out of 1.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d).

Southern Union Co., headquartered in Houston, is one of the nation's leading diversified natural gas companies, engaged primarily in the transportation, storage, gathering, processing, and distribution of natural gas. The company owns and operates the nation's second-largest natural gas pipeline system with more than 22,000 miles of gathering and transportation pipelines and North America's largest liquefied natural gas import terminal.
Kazakhstan Opens First CIS Oil Pipeline to China
Sinopec buying the Udmurtneft oil company in the Volga region for an estimated US$3.8 billion.
CNPC bought a more than US$500-million stake in the Russian state oil company Rosneft.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) 7/21/2006

Kazakhstan has activated the first oil pipeline to China from the former Soviet republics, officials in the Central Asian republic said Friday. The nearly 1,000-kilometer line linking Atasu in northern Kazakhstan to Xinjiang on the Chinese border will carry up to 20 million tons of oil a year, the Kazakh energy company KazTransOil told the Interfax news agency.

Russia now plans to hook up the top of the line with oilfields in western Siberia and also open a direct pipeline to China in two years. Russian and Kazakh oil was previously transported to China by rail.

The pipeline projects are part of rapidly expanding energy cooperation between the neighbors.

In June, Sinopec became the first Chinese oil company to join production work in Russia, buying the Udmurtneft oil company in the Volga region for an estimated US$3.8 billion.

This month the Chinese state oil company CNPC bought a more than US$500-million stake in the Russian state oil company Rosneft.
Oman strong oil growth 2 LNG trains
24th July, 2006
The sustained surge in crude oil prices is largely to thank for Oman’s strong emergence recently from the period of volatility it experienced from 1999-2002/03. According to a report by regional investment bank, EFG-Hermes, because of the recent rebound in oil prices dating back to 2002, the Omani economy has enjoyed sustained surpluses to its budget despite declining production levels (twin surpluses, budget and current account).

Other contributing factors to the recovery include the launch of a series of mega projects. The construction of the first of two LNG (liquid natural gas) trains in Oman and the subsequent exporting of LNG to Korea for the first time in 2000. Similarly, regulatory reforms, such as the Capital Market Law and Oman’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), that allowed the government to grant automatic approval to foreign investment projects with an ownership stake of up to 70 per cent, have been instrumental in counterbalancing potential volatility in crude oil prices, strengthening the banking system and fuelling a recovery in private sector investment.

EFS says that the latest macro and microeconomic indicators suggest that this recovery is solidifying – as at the second quarter of 2006, growth in credit to the private sector had accelerated to a seven-year high and financial results of listed companies showed sustained growth in net earnings, particularly for domestic-orientated companies such as banks and cement companies. “We predict that this positive period will continue, at least in the medium term. A surge in investment expenditure will drive economic growth, a continuation of a trend that began in 2002/03. And the pro-cyclical fiscal stance within the region is further fuelling this stability,” said Menna Shamseldin, Economist at EFG-Hermes.

Growth in investment demand is reflected by the strong growth in the banking sector. As at May 2006, the government continued to be a record high net creditor vis-à-vis the banking system ($1.6 billion) whereas the aggressive provisioning policy has ended. A reduction in the CBO ceiling on personal credit rates competitive pressures and low OMR deposit rates have also supported balance sheet expansion.

“Although short-term risks are not detectable at this stage” warns Menna Shamseldin “we remain concerned over the modest level of proven crude oil and natural gas reserves and its implications on external and internal imbalances in the longer term. Ideally, despite major investments in the tourism sector and growth in the manufacturing, transport, banking and internal trade sectors, we would like to see the discovery of new crude oil/natural gas reserves in the region, in order to ensure this positive turn of events continues.”
Zimbabwe mulls gas plants CBM
July 23, 2006  Southren Times
Sasol has already declared its interest in exploiting all natural gas reserves in the sub-region, as part of efforts to bolster its current interests in South Africa, and the company has already made significant strides in this regard.  The company's vision, according chief executive Pieter Cox, is to play a dynamic role in the development of energy markets in Southern Africa and develop the region's gas, liquid fuels and chemical industries.

Exploration of coalbed methane (CBM) natural gas reserves in Zimbabwe could soon become a reality, after highly-placed government sources told this paper that a global oil conglomerate was mulling prospects recovering the resource and building gas-energy plants in the country. The venture, if successful, will not only see production of electricity at the proposed gas-energy plants; but will result in the production of synthetic fuels that will go a long way in alleviating the current fuel crisis that has threatened to cripple Zimbabwe's industries.

The source said the company was currently evaluating cost-effective methods of recovering the natural gas before committing themselves to the project. "I can confirm that there is a global energy giant weighing the project benefits, and that the company is currently evaluating what method of recovery it will use, how cost-effective that method will be, and also conduct an environmental assessment impact survey," said a senior government official who refused to be named. The official added that serious exploratory work would only begin once Zimbabwe's new parliament puts in place legislation to facilitate the exploitation, transportation and utilisation of gaseous hydrocarbons, including coalbed methane. Zimbabwe has an unknown quantity of CBM natural gas reserves, but estimates pit Zimbabwe's reserves as the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, and significantly larger than South African reserves estimated at an astronomical 825 billion tonnes. The gas-energy plants, when constructed, will be responsible for the production of electricity for Zesa Holdings, which is the sole provider of electricity in the country.

Zesa Holdings currently imports a significant portion of its energy requirements from Eskom, South Africa's electricity authority. Eskom produces around 37 000 megawatts (MW), and the company exports power to Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe a heavy burden given increasing demand. In addition, Zimbabwe currently imports all its fuel requirements  a situation exacerbated by fuel shortages as the country is currently battling to raise foreign currency, which is required to purchase the precious commodity. The exploration of CBM natural gas reserves will go a long way in limiting the damaging effects of power and fuel shortages in the country, which have cost the country thousands of billions of dollars in lost productivity in the past six years. In addition, the venture is a welcome development in the search for solutions to the energy challenges facing the Sadc region.

The 13-member region is faced with a potentially debilitating energy crisis likely to manifest itself before 2010. Growing demand caused by increasing urbanization and industrialisation processes have seen energy requirements quadrupling over the past 15- years; posing a serious threat to Sadc economies. Current power sources which are mainly Hydroelectric and Thermal, in the Sadc community, are struggling to cope with demand. However, market speculation is rife that the company in question is South African energy giant, Sasol Holdings, which once mulled prospects of exploiting the resource in 2003, following invitations by the Zimbabwean government to do so. The arrangement struck up two years ago, would have seen Sasol coming in with the technology, while Malaysian investors were supposed to provide the financing  in a project that would have seen the construction of an unspecified number of gas-energy plants.