Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2014

Sasol: U.S. Growth Program

by Richard H. K. Vietor

Abstract

Sasol, the world's largest producer of synthetic oil from coal and gas, has announced plans to build a huge Catalytic cracker and gas-to-liquids plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana. This $21 billion venture will be the single largest foreign direct investment in US manufacturing history. The plants, on 1,600 acres adjacent to the company's existing cracker, will liquefy 98,000 barrels daily, converting ethane to ethylene and then into various specialty chemicals. The entire project depends on low gas prices engendered by the shale revolution and relatively high oil prices. The risks are copious, as is the promise.

Keywords: oil & gas; risk; risk and uncertainty; petroleum; strategy; foreign direct investment; synthesis; diesel; chemicals; Foreign Direct Investment; Chemicals; Strategy; Energy Industry; United States;

Citation:

Vietor, Richard H. K. "Sasol: U.S. Growth Program." Harvard Business School Case 714-034, May 2014.