Sasol puts into production a world-class ethane cracking unit

- Aug 31, 2019-

Sasol has announced that its world-class ethane cracking unit in the United States will begin production on August 27, 2019.Sasol's latest cracking unit is the centerpiece of the lake Charles petrochemical project (LCCP). It is the third and most important of the LCCP's seven planned production units and will provide raw materials for six new derivative units at the lake Charles city production base.

"Cracking units are the cornerstone of Sasol's construction of a world-class chemicals company," said Sasol co-president and CEO Stephen Cornell.It will strengthen the company's position in the U.S. market and will strengthen our business in the U.S. for decades to come."

Sasol's lake Charles ethane cracking unit, which USES Technip Stone & Webster's production technology, is one of the largest cracking units in the world with a rated capacity of 1.54 million tons per year.About 90 per cent of ethylene produced by cracking units will be further processed into commodity and high-margin specialty chemicals to meet the needs of Sasol's market leadership and close partnership with customers.

Ethylene from the plant will be supplied to six downstream units located at the same production base for the production of a range of high-value derivatives, including ethylene oxide, monoethylene glycol, ethoxide, low-density polyethylene and linear low-density polyethylene, and ziegler and golbert alcohols.Sasol customers use these products as raw materials for detergents, fragrances, metalworking and lubricating fluids, abrasives, paints and coatings, film, food packaging, personal care products, and many other applications and end markets.The remaining 10 per cent will be sold on the market or supplied to Sasol's high-density polyethylene joint venture with INEOS in Texas.

Utilities and infrastructure systems to support the entire project are fully operational.Linear low density polyethylene and ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol units went into operation earlier this year.Production of the low-density polyethylene unit is expected to begin in November 2019, and production of the ziegler alcohol, ethoxide and golbert alcohol units is expected to begin in early 2020.

Bongani nqwbaba, Sasol co-president and CEO, said, "after the first three test runs, more than 60 percent of the total production of the site is in place."Our construction and test teams are working hard to get the rest of the units into full production in November and the first quarter of 2020."

At present, the cracking unit continues to operate steadily, with a production load of about 50%.The ethylene produced by the current plant is used by downstream units of the LCCP and the rest is sold to external customers.The company will continue to work to improve the quality of ethylene products and expand the capacity of the plant as planned.

To date, the project has created more than 800 full-time quality production jobs, employed as many as 6,500 people, generated $4 billion worth of business for Louisiana businesses, and generated nearly $200 million in local and state tax revenue.