Sasol restarting Louisiana complex post hurricanes: company

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Highlights

Seven units restarted; rest to be online by end October

New plant to start up by end October as well

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Sasol has restarted seven units at its Lake Charles, Louisiana, chemical complex, with the rest expected to resume production by the end of October after two hurricanes hit the region within six weeks of each other, the company said Oct. 22.

The company also said commissioning has resumed on a new 420,000 mt/year low-density polyethylene plant — the last of new units to come online at its $12.9 billion Lake Charles expansion — and is expected to start up by the end of October as well.

Sasol is among Lake Charles chemical producers with operations shut ahead of Laura’s Aug. 27 landfall, and again before Hurricane Delta came ashore Oct. 9, mirroring Laura’s path.

Laura, a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds, severely damaged electricity transmission lines, leaving producers without access to full load for weeks.

Delta, a Category 2 storm with 100 mph winds, did not cause the widespread damage to electricity that Laura did.

Other Lake Charles producers — Westlake Chemical, Lotte Chemical, and — also have either restarted or begun restarting all of their operations in Delta’s wake, according to the companies or sources familiar with their operations.

The restarted units include a 439,000 mt/year cracker, 470,000 mt/year linear low-density PE plant that started up in 2019, and a 380,000 mt/year ethylene oxide/monoethylene glycol unit. Sasol’s newer 1.5 million mt/year cracker is among the units that have yet to restart.

Its Lake Charles complex includes a 1.5 million mt/year cracker and a 470,000 mt/year linear low-density PE plant that started up in 2019, a legacy 439,000 mt/year cracker, and a 380,000 mt/year ethylene oxide/monoethylene glycol unit.

On Oct. 2, Sasol and LyondellBasell announced that LyondellBasell would buy a 50% interest in the new cracker, LLDPE, and LDPE plants for $2 billion and take over operating those units by the end of 2020.

The deal supplements Sasol’s plan to raise at least $6 billion to pay down by the end of 2021. The company will retain full ownership of other facilities at the complex.

Author

Kristen Hays

Editor

Derek Sands

Source: Platts

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