Sasol Announces Beneficial Operations of Fifth & Sixth Lake Charles Chemicals Project Facilities

Source: 6/23/2020, Location: North America

Sasol announced that the Guerbet alcohol unit at our Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) achieved beneficial operations on 19 June 2020. This follows three days after achieving beneficial operations on the Ziegler alcohol unit, bringing the online capacity of LCCP's specialty chemicals units to 100 percent and LCCP's total online nameplate capacity to 86 percent.

The beneficial operations of these LCCP facilities progresses Sasol's seven-unit U.S. Gulf Coast mega project to the cusp of completion," said Sasol President and Chief Executive Officer, Fleetwood Grobler. "The additional capacity strengthens Sasol's leadership position in the specialty alcohol and alumina markets, which is core to the company's Chemicals growth strategy."

"Our investment in Lake Charles – including the additional ethoxylation capacity that began operation in January 2020 – combined with the startup of our new ethoxylation unit in Nanjing, China in 2019, strengthens our existing asset base," said Sasol Executive Vice President: Chemicals Business, Brad Griffith.

"With this expansive global footprint, we continue aligning our business with powerful global megatrends to identify high-value growth opportunities we can support with our unique chemistries. These megatrends underpin our strategy of providing solutions to a growing and urbanising middle class focused on health, hygiene and sustainability. Through collaborative innovation with our customers, we are committed to developing sustainable solutions which form a part of the developing circular economy," said Mr Griffith.

The Ziegler and Guerbet alcohols expand Sasol's position in having the broadest integrated alcohols and surfactants portfolio in the world. Sasol is a recognised leader in chemicals for essential care markets such as laundry, home care, personal care and hygiene.

Sasol is also well-positioned to offer specialty, performance-based chemicals and tailor-made solutions to customers in a wide range of industrial applications including agrochemicals, abrasives, metalworking and lubrication, oil and gas, automotive, and paints and coatings.

The LCCP Ziegler unit is an extension of the existing Ziegler plant in Lake Charles and is the largest of its kind in the world adding nameplate capacity of 173,000 tons per year (173 ktpa) of alcohol and 32,000 tons (32 ktpa) of alumina. This addition strengthens Sasol's significant economies of scale, leveraging the company's deep technical and operating experience.

The Ziegler unit supplements Sasol's global production of alcohols and aluminas, adding to existing Ziegler capacity in both Lake Charles and Brunsbuettel, Germany. The unit is the most technically complex of the units in the LCCP and is based on Sasol's proprietary technology. Benefited by the most modern technology and years of experience with this unique process, the Ziegler unit started up smoothly, within market guidance through the sterling efforts of our project and operations teams.

The additional alumina capacity from the Ziegler unit will enable Sasol to supply the increasing market demand for tailor-made, high purity alumina products used in a variety of market applications such as catalysts, films, ceramics and abrasives. The expansion will support the growth aspirations of customers requiring Sasol's unique alkoxide based alumina products.

Sasol's new Guerbet unit on the U.S. Gulf Coast is the company's second Guerbet alcohol production site; the other is also located in Brunsbuettel. The unit in Lake Charles is the largest Guerbet alcohol plant in the world and has a nameplate capacity of 30,000 tons per year (30 ktpa).

The Guerbet unit is a two-fold scale-up of Sasol's proprietary technology used in Brunsbuettel. The project and operations teams from both Lake Charles and Brunsbuettel worked exceedingly well to bring the Guerbet unit onstream without problems. The positioning of Sasol's Guerbet alcohol production sites in Europe and North America is unrivaled and provides our customers with expanded access to a more efficient and sustainable global supply chain.

The last remaining unit to come online at LCCP will be the low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant. This is on track for beneficial operations by the end of September 2020, as per previous guidance. At the end of May 2020, the LCCP capital expenditure was tracking the previously communicated guidance of US$12,8 billion.

To date, the LCCP has generated more than 800 full-time quality manufacturing jobs, with up to 6,500 people on site during construction, with nearly US$4 billion spend on construction to Louisiana businesses and nearly US$200 million paid in local and state taxes.

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