Sasol builds world’s first Ethylene Tetramerization Unit in Lake Charles

LAKE CHARLES, La.--()--Sasol today announced plans to construct the world’s first commercial ethylene tetramerization unit, capable of producing over 100,000 metric tons per year of combined 1-octene and 1-hexene, at its Louisiana production site in Lake Charles.

This first-of-a-kind unit will be built in Southwest Louisiana and will be located inside Sasol’s existing Lake Charles Chemical Complex. The tetramerization unit will expand the facility’s workforce by nearly 10%, employing an additional 36 full-time employees and 12 contract employees. The expanded capacity is also expected to add stability to the existing employee base as it will further integrate the products manufactured at the plant site.

Construction will commence in 2011, and the plant will reach beneficial operation in mid-2013. During peak construction periods, up to 500 contract employees with skills in welding, pipefitting, carpentry, electrical and instrumentation, as well as laborers, will be needed.

“We’re pleased to be selected to construct and operate this unique tetramerization process. Sasol’s willingness to expand operations in Southwest Louisiana is a vote of confidence in our local employees, service providers and our state. We are particularly thankful to Governor Bobby Jindal, our local legislative delegation and Louisiana Economic Development for the support they have provided to help make this opportunity a reality,” said Mike Thomas, Sasol North America President.

The unit will utilize Sasol’s proprietary technology to convert ethylene to 1-octene and 1-hexene. This unique process was developed in Sasol’s R&D laboratories in South Africa, and selectively produces alpha olefins required for the high growth polymer markets. Engineers and scientists from Sasol North America participated with an international team to design the unit, which will utilize the new technology on an industrial manufacturing scale.

“This tetramerization unit at our Lake Charles complex is supporting our strategy to further beneficiate our ethylene produced at the site and is in line with our view to develop our integrated multi asset sites”, said Fleetwood Grobler, Managing Director of Sasol Olefins & Surfactants, the international holding company of Sasol North America.

With current production of over 350,000 metric tons per year, Sasol is a major producer of comonomer range alpha olefins. According to Alan Field, Managing Director of Sasol Solvents, “The additional capacity to be built at the Lake Charles Complex will help Sasol’s global customer base achieve its long-term polymer and elastomer growth prospects, and the investment reflects our confidence in the competiveness of the US petrochemicals industry.”

1-octene and 1-hexene are used as comonomers in the manufacture of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE), high density polyethylene (HDPE) and elastomers. The products impart special characteristics of elasticity and strength in plastic used in consumer products such as food packaging, bags, toys, automotive interiors, power cable coatings and more.

Sasol North America Inc. is a holding of Sasol Olefins & Surfactants (O&S), a main chemical business of Sasol Limited. Sasol O&S manufactures and markets a broad range of organic and inorganic products used in detergents, cleaners, paint and coatings, personal care products as well as in catalysts, high performance abrasives and polymer additives. Production sites are located in the United States, Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Dubai, South Africa and China.

Sasol is an energy and chemicals business. Based in South Africa and operating worldwide, Sasol is listed on the NYSE and JSE stock exchanges. Sasol is a leading provider of liquid fuels in South Africa and a major international producer of chemicals. Using proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technologies Sasol produces synthetic fuels and chemicals from low-grade coal and natural gas. The company also manufactures more than 200 fuel and chemical products that are sold worldwide. In South Africa, Sasol also operates coal mines to provide feedstock for the synthetic fuels plants. Sasol operates the only inland crude oil refinery in South Africa. The group produces crude oil in offshore Gabon, supplies Mozambican natural gas to end-user customers and petrochemical plants in South Africa, and with partners involved in gas-to-liquids fuel joint ventures in Qatar and Nigeria. Internet address: http://www.sasol.com

Disclaimer – Forward-looking statements

Sasol may, in this document, make certain statements that are not historical facts and relate to analyses and other information which are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements may also relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies. Examples of such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding exchange rate fluctuations, volume growth, increases in market share, total shareholder return and cost reductions. Words such as "believe", "anticipate", "expect", "intend", "seek", "will", "plan", "could", "may", "endeavour" and "project" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and there are risks that the predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. If one or more of these risks materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. You should understand that a number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors are discussed more fully in our most recent annual report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on Form 20-F filed on 28 September 2010 and in other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. The list of factors discussed therein is not exhaustive; when relying on forward-looking statements to make investment decisions, you should carefully consider both these factors and other uncertainties and events. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date on which they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any of them, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contacts

Communications Sasol O&S
Claudia Wagner, 0049 163 63684 75
or
Sasol North America
Nancy Tower, 337-842-7849

Release Summary

Sasol announces plans to build world's first commercial ethylene tetramerization unit in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Contacts

Communications Sasol O&S
Claudia Wagner, 0049 163 63684 75
or
Sasol North America
Nancy Tower, 337-842-7849