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Emerson Process Management, the global business division of Emerson Electric Company (EMR - Analyst Report), has received an automation contract from South Africa-based energy and chemical company Sasol Ltd. (SSL - Snapshot Report). Emerson will automate Sasol’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) and world-scale ethane cracker complex in Lake Charles, LA. Sasol plans to invest approximately $16 billion to $21 billion for the automation of Sasol’s two facilities.

Emerson is the main automation contractor for these facilities and it expects to deploy its PlantWeb digital plant architecture. The architecture includes Emerson’s industry-recognized control and safety systems, control valves and measurement and analytical instruments. The preliminary stage of automation planning and engineering work is expected to begin effective immediately.  

Sasol;s investment for the automation of its two facilities is an attempt to capture the potential of this natural resource. Post automation, the GTL plant will convert the region’s abundant low-cost shale gas into high-performance, low-emissions diesel and other transportation fuels.

On the other hand, the ethane cracker and derivatives plant will convert ethane to ethylene and other downstream derivatives. Therefore, this project will help tap natural gas supplies to produce high-value products and help the economic development.

In Feb 2013, Emerson Process Management had received a $33 million contract from Statoil to upgrade safety and automation systems on the Visund oil platform in the Norwegian North Sea. Emerson is one of the preferred automation and safety suppliers, providing integrated safety and automation systems to help the international energy companies boost oil recovery and also extend the life of the field. It also helps in reducing operating costs and minimizing safety and environmental risks.

Currently, Emerson Electric has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other stocks in the industry worth a look at the moment include Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI - Analyst Report) and Emcor Group Inc. (EME - Analyst Report). Both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). 

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