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Sasol in final stages of new LDPE plant startup, resumes Lake Charles operations


New LDPE plant startup delayed to November

All other units at Lake Charles resumed operations

  • Author
  • Jacquelyn Melinek
  • Editor
  • Kshitiz Goliya
  • Commodity
  • Petrochemicals

Houston — Sasol is continuing in the final stages for the startup of its new 420,000 mt/year low-density polyethylene plant after previously announcing a startup for October, the company's spokesperson, Kim Cusimano, said in an email to S&P Global Platts Nov. 3.

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The company resumed operations for all its Lake Charles, Louisiana, chemical complex units that were operating before Hurricane Laura, Cusimano said.

Sasol is among the Lake Charles chemical producers that shut operations ahead of Hurricane Laura's Aug. 27 landfall, and again before Hurricane Delta came ashore Oct. 9, which was the same path as Laura.

The LDPE plant was delayed to a startup in November due to Hurricane Delta interrupting its planned October startup date.

The company's LDPE plant is the last of the new units to come online at its $12.9 billion Lake Charles expansion and is "progressing through the final stages of startup," Cusimano said.

The company said it "will release a formal disclosure to the market when the (LDPE) unit reaches beneficial operation."

Beneficial operation is defined as 72 hours of continuous on-spec production.

Sources have said they are not confident that the startup will occur anytime before December but expect LDPE spot export pricing to drop in the coming weeks as the market corrects itself from previous months.

Platts last assessed spot export LDPE down $11 day on day Nov. 2 at $1,113-$1,135/mt (50.5-51.5 cents/lb) FAS Houston, with rail car pricing talked at 48 cents/lb by sources.

Separately, Platts assessed the US domestic LDPE contract on Oct. 28 at a rollover for October at 74.5-75.5 cents/lb ($1,642.43-$1,664.47/mt) delivered railcar basis, based on demand tapering off and suppliers trying to keep the market stable, one source said.