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Sasol confirms 2-5 month delays on Lake Charles complex

HOUSTON, February 8, 2019 (PCW) -- Sasol announced today that the startup of its Lake Charles, LA petrochemical complex would be delayed by 2-5 months depending on the unit, with the cracker not expected online until July.

The company cited increases in the project scope, heavy 4Q rainfall that cumulatively delayed work by a month, high rates of absenteeism around public holidays, and contruction rework since late November 2018.

The 470,000 mt/yr LLDPE unit, which began producing resin in January, was expected to achieve beneficial operations in February, two months behind scheduled.

The company defines beneficial operations as producing on-spec material for 72 consecutive hours.

Beneficial operations for other units were expected as follows: 300,000 mt/yr EO/EG in June (delayed four months), 1.5 million mt/yr ethane cracker in July (delayed five months), and 420,000 mt/yr LDPE in August (delayed five months).

The company also sharpened its projections for the startup of several other chemical derivatives units: 173,000 mt/yr Ziegler alcohol in November, 100,000 mt/yr ethoxylate in December and 30,000 mt/yr Guerbet alcohol in January 2020. The previous guidance for those units had been 2H 2019.

With the delays, the overal capital investment for the project was expected to rise to $11.6-11.8 billion.

The 1.5 million mt/yr cracker will consume about 100,000 b/d of ethane at full rates. Of that capacity, 1.17 million mt/yr will be supplied to the site's derivative units; the remaining 330,000 mt/yr of capacity will supply the merchant market and Sasol's joint venture HDPE plant with Ineos in La Porte, TX. -- David Barry

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