South Africa’s Sasol breaks ground on $9bn petrochemical project in US

March 31, 2015 | Petrochemicals, United States & Canada

Johannesburg, South Africa | – South Africa’s integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has commenced construction of its $9 billion petrochemical complex near Westlake, Texas, US. The petrochemical complex will use abundant ethane in the US to triple Sasol’s chemical production.

Sasol international operations executive vice president Steve Cornell said: “By the time construction is complete in 2018, Sasol’s investment will total almost 9 billion dollars, making it one of the largest investments in our company’s history.

“Along the way, we’ll create more than 5,000 construction jobs and more than 500 full-time positions, 100 of which have already been filled.”

The ethane cracker and derivatives project is expected to enter service in 2018.

Early works activities, site preparation and civil construction work are underway where as the site aboveground work and heavy equipment deliveries will begin this year.

The mechanical, electrical and instrumentation work is scheduled to commence in 2016 and 2017.

Expected to produce approximately 1.5 million tons of ethylene annually, the facility will feature a cracker facility and six chemical manufacturing plants, enabling infrastructure and utility improvements.

In December 2014, Sasol raised $4bn to finance the construction of the project from a group of 18 international banks and financial institutions.

The complex will complement the company’s olefins and surfactants plant in Lake Charles, and will convert most of its production into specialty chemicals.