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Sasol starts engineering of La. ethane cracker

December 5, 2012

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (Dec. 5, 9:15 a.m. ET) — South African-based energy and chemicals company Sasol will proceed with engineering and design phase for a world-scale ethane cracker with downstream derivatives at its Lake Charles site in southwest Louisiana.

The ethane cracker will allow Sasol to expand its differentiated ethylene derivatives business, which includes ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol, in the US. The cracker will also benefit from the current low US natural gas prices and the abundance of ethane, Sasol said in a Dec. 4 news release.

Current cracker project costs are estimated at $5-7 billion, and the company expects “beneficial operation” during the 2017 calendar year. It will produce an estimated 1.5 million metric tons per year of ethylene.

“Through our innovative energy and chemicals technologies, we will provide the US with world-class, cleaner-burning fuel, contribute to the country’s energy security, boost downstream manufacturing capacity, and diversify the utilization of domestic gas resources,” Sasol CEO David Constable said.

The ethane cracker and integrated gas-to-liquid facility also being developed at the site will together create a minimum of 1200 permanent positions and 7000 construction jobs, the company said.