Final LDPE Unit at Sasol’s Lake Charles Complex Reaches Beneficial Operation

Sasol’s low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit at the Lake Charles Chemicals Complex (LCCP) at Louisiana, USA, reached beneficial operation on November 15.

The LDPE unit is the seventh and final LCCP unit to come on line.

The LCCP is now 100% complete with total capital expenditure forecast to be within the previously communicated guidance of $12.8-billion.

The LCCP was, in 2014, estimated to cost about $8.9-billion to build, but a number of upwards revisions have been announced over the years, with the latest revision, announced in May 2019, taking the price tag to $12.8-billion.

“This milestone safely brings our LCCP to a close and sets the stage for the next step in the evolution of our chemicals business. 

“The completion of this unit and its impending transition to our joint venture with LyondellBasell will accelerate our transformation to a more specialty chemicals-focused company with a strong presence of base chemicals in our portfolio,” says Sasol CEO and president Fleetwood Grobler.

Sasol’s LDPE unit uses ExxonMobil technology and has a nameplate capacity of 420,000 ton per year.

LDPE is used to manufacture plastic bags, shrink wrap and stretch film, coatings for paper cups and cartons, container lids, squeezable bottles, and other applications.

The LDPE unit is one of the three LCCP plants that will form part of the Sasol/LyondellBasell Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene joint venture (JV).

In October, LyondellBasell and Sasol announced that they had entered into a definitive agreement to form a 50/50 JV through which LyondellBasell would acquire 50% of Sasol’s 1.5-million-ton ethane cracker, 900,000-ton low and linear-low density polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure for a total consideration of $2-billion.

The agreement includes customary rights for each partner regarding the potential future sale of its ownership interest. The JV would operate under the name Louisiana Integrated PolyEthylene JV LLC.