Sasol’s polyethylene unit achieves ‘beneficial operations’

Sasol's Lake Charles Chemical Complex (Courtesy Sasol)

Sasol’s new U.S. linear low-density polyethylene unit has achieved beneficial operations—the first of the seven LCCP production facilities to come online.

Sasol is building a world-scale petrochemical complex near its existing site in Lake Charles. The project will roughly triple the company’s chemical production capacity in the U.S. and enable it to build on its strong positions in robust and growing global chemical markets.

“Reaching beneficial operations of our first LCCP unit is a defining moment in Sasol’s history and a significant milestone in delivering on the promise of LCCP,” Mike Thomas, senior vice president of Sasol’s North American Operations, said last week in a statement. “This success is attributable to our team of Sasol employees, contractors and industry partners, who worked for several years to safely enable this milestone.”

The 470ktpa LLDPE unit, which uses Univation Technologies’ UNIPOL PE process, is one of two polyethylene plants at the LCCP site. The second, a 420ktpa low-density polyethylene plant using ExxonMobil technology, is scheduled to come online later this year. Additionally, Sasol has a third polyethylene facility in the United States, a high-density polyethylene plant, through Gemini, its 50/50 joint venture with INEOS, in LaPorte, Texas. The new U.S. polymers facilities will effectively double Sasol’s global polymer production capabilities.

The remaining six Lake Charles Chemicals Project manufacturing units are expected to reach beneficial operations throughout 2019 and early 2020.

“We have been in the global polymers industry for more than 50 years with local presence established in all regions with employees and distribution partners,” said Adriaan Janse van Rensburg, vice president of Polymers for Sasol’s Base Chemicals strategic business unit. “Our competitive cost position, world-scale, state-of-the-art assets and good logistics location will provide for robust economics over the long term as we supply polymers to new and existing customers in fast-growing global markets.”