BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal said a Sasol Ltd. decision to explore building a $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion ethylene production site in Louisiana further cements the state's reputation as one of the world's best locations for natural gas-related investments.
The South African energy and chemicals company announced it will move forward with a feasibility study for building a world-scale ethylene cracker and derivatives complex. The study will focus on building the project near Sasol's existing Lake Charles Chemical Complex in Westlake, La. Sasol's board of directors approved the study Nov. 25, and the company publicly disclosed its plans today.
Gov. Jindal said, "Yet again, Louisiana is the focus of a multibillion-dollar petrochemical investment that underscores the unique advantages of our state's outstanding business climate and Louisiana's abundant natural resources. While we recognize that it's too early to discuss employment and capital investment with certainty, we will aggressively support Sasol's efforts to create new career opportunities for our sons and daughters here in Louisiana."
Should the project move forward, Sasol would build one of the largest ethylene cracking facilities in the U.S., with production of 1 million to 1.4 million tons per annum. Derived from natural gas, ethylene is a major building block of alcohol- and plastic-based products, such as solvents, surfactants and polymers.
"We believe strategic growth in chemicals will take full advantage of the natural gas opportunities along the U.S. Gulf Coast and the anticipated growth will strengthen Sasol's overall portfolio," said Sasol CEO David Constable, who described the study as an important next step in the growth of Sasol's chemical business.
Sasol expects to complete the feasibility study by mid-2013 and to make an investment decision at that time.
Based in South Africa and operating worldwide, Sasol Limited is an energy and chemical company on the NYSE and JSE stock exchanges. It is a leading provider of liquid fuels in South Africa and a major international producer of chemicals. 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, and personal care products, as well as in catalysts, high-performance abrasives and polymer additives. Production sites are located in the U.S., Germany, Italy, Slovakia, Dubai, South Africa and China.