Sasol Ltd plans to invest US$4.5 bln to build a plant usin low-cost natural gas to make ethylene and related chemicals in Louisiana. The board of directors has approved a feasibility study on a possible ethane cracker and ethylene derivatives complex in Lake Charles. The feasibility study is estimated to be completed by June 2013. The investment outlay is estimated at US$3.5-4.5 bln for ethylene capacity estimated between 1-1.4 mln tpa. “The rapid development of the shale gas industry in North America and the resulting decoupling of the crude oil and natural gas prices have created several opportunities for growth for Sasol in both fuels and chemicals, the company said in a statement. In particular, the availability of significant volumes of natural gas liquids, and specifically ethane, has opened up opportunities in the ethane feedstock area for cracker-based chemicals.”
Sasol joins Dow Chemical Co., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, among others, who are studying whether to build ethane crackers in the US.