Petrotahlil - South African diversified Sasol's much-delayed Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) in Louisiana, US, is operating at 86pc of nameplate capacity after two more units came online last week.
The 30,000 t/yr Guerbet alcohols facility became operational on 19 June, and the Ziegler unit came online on 16 June. This corresponds to Sasol's recent guidance that the units would be up-and-running by the end of this month.
With production capacity of 173,000 t/yr of alcohol and 32,000 t/yr of alumina, the Ziegler plant is the largest of its kind in the world and the most technically complex of all the LCCP units, Sasol said.
The last LCCP unit to come online will be the 470,000 t/yr low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant, which was damaged by a fire in January. This is on track to become operational by the end of September, as per previous guidance, Sasol said.
At the end of May, LCCP's projected capital cost was still within the previously communicated estimate of $12.8bn, Sasol said.
The project has been beset by cost overruns and delays that forced its joint chief executives to resign in October 2019. The firm is also battling with high levels of debt amid falling chemicals prices.
It has been reviewing its business to focus on its core chemicals and energy operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and increased oil price volatility in recent months.
Last week, Sasol said it planned to cut an unspecified number of jobs and discontinue "all oil growth activities in west Africa." In May, the firm warned that its profit would drop by at least 20pc this financial year.