(Courtesy Sasol)

Startup of Sasol’s low-density polyethylene unit will now take place in the second half of 2020, S&P Global Platts reports.

This marks a delay from its previous plan to start up the cracker and LDPE plant by the end of 2019, both of which are part of the new Lake Charles Chemical Project, or LCCP, which has been plagued by problems. Part of the reason for the delay at the LDPE unit is a pipe failure in January, with replacements having long lead times.

In January, an explosion and fire damaged part of Sasol’s 420,000-million-tons-per-year  LDPE plant as it was coming online.

Sasol noted the delay in an interim financial report last week. The project is now 99% completed and operating with 80% production capacity in use, the company said in its interim financial results last week. The project—with an original estimated price tag of $8.9 billion in 2014—has no risen to $12.8 billion, given technical complications.

Sasol experienced a 73% drop in earnings per share during the second half of 2019 amid delays with the project.

The LLCP’s linear low-density polyethylene, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol units are producing at targeted levels, while the ETO unit achieved “beneficial operation” at the end of January, S&P Global Platts reports.

Sasol’s CEO Fleetwood Grobler said LCCP will “significantly strengthen our position as a global chemicals company … However, we are disappointed by the challenges with the LDPE unit start up. As we near the end of the project’s capital spend phase, approximately 80% of total installed output is online.”

S&P Global Platts has the full story.