Sasol switches on last Lake Charles unit


Sasol switches on last Lake Charles unit

Published Date: 2020-11-17 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Sasol switches on last Lake Charles unit

Over budget and way past schedule, Sasol says the last unit at its Lakes Charles Chemicals Project is now in operation.

The last unit at Sasol's Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) in the US has finally come online as the energy and chemicals giant prepares to sell a stake in the project to help reduce debt. The Low Density Polyethylene Unit (LDPU) reached beneficial operation on Sunday after it was damaged in a fire during commissioning in January.

With all seven chemical manufacturing units now brought into operation, Sasol said the LCCP was now 100% complete with total capital expenditure forecast to be within its most recent guidance of $12.8 billion. Still, that's significantly more than the $8.9 billion it was expected to cost when the company decided to proceed with the project in 2014.

The LDPE unit, which uses ExxonMobil technology, has a nameplate capacity of 420 kilotons per annum, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. It is one of the three LCCP plants that will form part of a joint venture with LyondellBasell Industries. Sasol said production from the unit was an important milestone to ensure the venture would make a meaningful expansion into the US polymers production market.

Last month, it announced a deal to sell a 50% interest in the base chemicals operations at Lake Charles to LyondellBasell for $2 billion to reduce debt and enhance the benefits it gets from its investment. The deal excludes its US performance chemicals business as well as its legacy base chemicals operations in that country.

Sasol said all units which were operating prior to Hurricane Laura in late August had returned to operation, with no further operational impact from Hurricane Zeta, which made landfall in Louisiana last month.

Its shares rose 3.5% to R108.70 yesterday.

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