Sasol publishes update on its chemicals project

At the Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), Sasol maintains its focus on safely improving productivity and bringing all the units to beneficial operation. The LCCP continued with its exceptional safety record with a recordable case rate (RCR) of 0,11.

After the ethoxylates (ETO) expansion achieved beneficial operation in January 2020, the alcohol expansion and the alumina expansion, as well as the new Guerbet unit, achieved beneficial operation in June 2020. As a result, 100% of the LCCP’s Specialty Chemicals units are online, and 86% of total nameplate capacity of the LCCP is operational.

The last remaining unit to come online will be the low density polyethylene (LDPE) unit, which was damaged during a fire in January 2020. The unit is expected to achieve beneficial operation before the end of October 2020.

Some challenges in restoring the unit have resulted in a slight delay to the previous market guidance of the end of September 2020. During the time of the delay in the LDPE unit start-up, the ethylene produced by the cracker and destined for the unit is being sold to third parties.

As a result, projected earnings for the LCCP complex in this financial year will be impacted only by the loss in the margin of ethylene to LDPE. In addition, the insurance claims process is underway, and the first insurance proceeds have been received.

The overall LCCP cost estimate is tracking US$12,8 billion as per our previous guidance. The new ethane cracker produced at an average rate of above 80% of nameplate capacity during the fourth quarter of the year.

COVID-19 had a limited impact on the LCCP construction and commissioning activities during the fourth quarter of the year, and mitigation plans are in place to minimise potential impacts going forward.

The close-out and demobilisation of the LCCP is progressing according to plan with the remainder of the work limited to the removal of scaffolding. Site demobilisation of construction equipment, infrastructure and services will be completed after the last unit achieves beneficial operation.

The people on site have reduced to less than 400 and follows the demobilisation plan. This includes the LDPE restoration resources.

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