GTL Energy and Solid Energy Announce First Production; Signed Joint Venture Agreement for Deployment of Coal Upgrading Technology

  • First production achieved at Solid Energy’s plant in Southland, New Zealand, using GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology
  • GTL Energy and Solid Energy sign an agreement to form a Joint Venture Company combining their respective assets for the commercialization of GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology

Solid Energy New Zealand Ltd and GTL Energy Ltd, an Australian-based coal technology company, today announced the achievement of sustained production runs at the first commercial coal upgrading plant utilizing GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology and the signing of agreements for the formation of a joint venture company, GTLE Development Ltd, to focus on the operation of the plant as well as project development and deployment of the technology globally.

Solid Energy is commissioning its Mataura briquette plant, which will produce lignite briquettes for the South Island market using GTL Energy’s coal upgrading technology.

Once the plant is fully commissioned, GTLE Development Ltd will operate the Mataura plant through a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. The joint-venture company will manage briquette production at the Mataura plant, trial the product in international thermal export coal markets and focus on developing and deploying the upgrading technology globally.

Solid Energy will have a 20% stake in GTLE Development Ltd and will continue to own the Mataura plant. Feedstock for the plant will come from Solid Energy’s nearby New Vale Mine and will be transformed into high energy product for the joint venture under a tolling arrangement which underpins continuous production. This product will support the domestic market development along with proof of technology for global deployment. Solid Energy will market the product to its South Island customers with trials due to begin shortly.

Solid Energy and GTLE are currently in consultation with staff at the plant about transferring their employment to the GTLE New Zealand subsidiary.
In addition to the Mataura plant and its commercial demonstration plant in North Dakota, GTLE has plant projects under various stages of development in Indonesia and Australia, and opportunities under review in the USA and Europe.

Solid Energy’s Group Manager Coal Developments, Brett Gamble, said: “We have worked closely with GTL Energy over many years, and the opportunity to combine our collective expertise and assets to accelerate commercialisation and deployment of the technology makes a lot of sense for both of us. We are excited about the future of this proposed venture and believe the transformation of low rank high moisture coal into higher energy briquettes has potential to create significant value.”

GTL Energy’s CEO, Fred Schulte, who will be CEO of GTLE Development Ltd, said: “This deal will create a company with the ability to accelerate technology deployment. The achievement of continuous, safe and reliable production at the New Zealand plant will provide the demonstration that is expected to support more wide-spread adoption. We will now have a production facility, engineering and operating capabilities in a single organisation. The new entity will be looking beyond a technology licensing business model and moving into project development, ownership and operations. Despite challenging coal and capital markets, we have exciting projects which make sense regardless of market timing, and we look forward to bringing these into fruition through 2013.”


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GTLE Release - re Solid Energy JV and Briquette Plant 2013-03-01