Oil and Gas
The chemical complex at Sasolburg is the economic driver of the oil and gas sector for the province. Sasol initially converted coal into liquid fuel, fuel components, wax and chemicals through Sasol's proprietary technology processes. Since 2004 however, the Sasol One Site has been using natural gas from the gas fields in Mozambique as feedstock.
Natural gas is reformed into synthesis gas to produce a variety of chemical products. During 2013, Sasol also started to produce electricity from natural gas to supplement its existing capacity and energy sourced from Eskom.
In the Free State renewable energy is a key focus area. Most areas of South Africa average more than 2 500 hours of sunshine per year with the annual 24 hour global solar radiation average at approximately 22kW per square metre compared to 150 W for parts of the USA and 100 W for Europe and the United Kingdom. This makes South Africa's local solar resource one of the highest in the world.
The Free State has significant potential for the harvesting of solar energy. Projects in the pipeline for this sector include the manufacturing of solar water geysers and the manufacturing of solar-modules and solar panels assembly facility.
The Xhariep region has the second best solar-radiation index after Upington in the Northern Cape. It provides the opportunity to harness the natural sun power and to generate electricity. This positions the Xhariep region as an ideal location for the development of concentrated solar power and photovoltaic solar power-generation technologies.