Sasol starts up cracker at Louisiana petchem complex

Sasol Ltd. has completed production test runs and achieved beneficial operation of the cracker at its long-planned Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), an integrated ethane cracker and downstream derivatives complex under construction in Westlake, La.

190830 Sasol Lccp Proc
Photo from Sasol Ltd.

Sasol Ltd. has completed production test runs and achieved beneficial operation of the cracker at its long-planned Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), an integrated ethane cracker and downstream derivatives complex under construction in Westlake, La., near Lake Charles (OGJ Online, June 7, 2016).

As of Aug. 28, the 1.5 million-tonne/year ethane cracker continues to operate stably at a capacity utilization of about 50%, with the company continuing to focus on improving ethylene quality and advancing ramp-up activities in accordance with the project schedule, Sasol said.

Current output from the cracker is used by some of the complex’s existing downstream units, with the remainder sold to external customers.

Achievement of beneficial operations at the cracker follows first production of ethylene at the LCCP on Aug. 24 that was marginally below polymer-grade specification due to the complex’s acetylene reactor system that—before intervention from the catalyst supplier and technology licensor—did not perform as anticipated, the company said.

While completion of all other downstream derivative units at LCCP has continued to advance, the previously announced commissioning schedule for remaining units has changed (OGJ Online, June 3, 2019).

Currently, Sasol said it expects the timeline for LCCP’s remaining units to achieve beneficial operation to be as follows:

  • Low-density polyethylene unit: November.
  • Zeigler alcohols unit: January 2020.
  • Guerbet alcohols unit: March 2020.
  • Ethoxylation unit: January 2020.

While the technical issues and delayed beneficial-operation dates for remaining units has adjusted LCCP earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) guidance for the 2020 financial year to $150-300 million from a previous $300-$350 million, overall cost guidance for LCCP remains unchanged at $12.6-12.9 billion, Sasol said.

Contact Robert Brelsford at rbrelsford@endeavorb2b.com.

More in Refining & Processing