Sasol begins startup of Lake Charles cracker

(The Associated Press)

Sasol is initiating the startup of its new 1.5 million tons-per-year cracker in Lake Charles. However, the company’s new associated 420,000 million tons per year low-density polyethylene plant is expected to come online four to six weeks later than planned, S&P Global Platts reports.

“We are experiencing some schedule pressure on the low-density polyethylene plant and expect beneficial operation to be delayed by four to six weeks as it has taken longer than planned to complete the construction, as well as the cleaning and preparation of critical equipment,” Sasol said in a statement last week. The company had aimed to start up the LDPE plant next month.

Sasol defines beneficial operation as 72 consecutive hours of on-spec production.

The project has been beset by lengthy delays and cost increases. In February, the company announced that the cracker and derivative units would start up months later than planned because of incomplete engineering work, inclement weather and worker absenteeism, after the cracker and a 470,000 million tons-per-year linear low density polyethylene plant had been slated to start up by December 2018.

The LLDPE plant came online in February, followed by a 380,000 million tons-per-year  ethylene oxide/monoethylene glycol unit in June.

The company also conducting an independent review of the project with independent technical and financial advisers. A report is expected to be submitted to Sasol’s board of directors by late August.

S&P Global Platts has the full story.