Sasol selects ExxonMobil technology for US polyethylene facility


ExxonMobil Chemical through its affiliate ExxonMobil Chemical Technology Licensing has entered into an agreement to license its tubular process technology to Sasol North America for its new US low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant.

The high-pressure tubular process is expected to help Sasol manufacture polyethylene at a low total cost comparable to commercial gas-phase reactors.

Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the new facility will manufacture 420,000 tonnes of polyethylene per year and is scheduled to go on stream in late 2016.

ExxonMobil Chemical Technology Licensing vice president Jennifer Dunphy said LDPE manufacturers continue to select the company's tubular process technology for its broad grade-slate capabilities, high reactor uptime and lower total cost, compared with commercial gas-phase reactors.

"Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the new facility will manufacture 420,000 tonnes of polyethylene per year."

Sasol Chemical Industries' division Sasol Polymers had also licensed the ExxonMobil Chemical tubular process for its Sasolburg LDPE site in South Africa, which went on stream in 2005.

Sasol Polymers International Investments managing director Mike Biesheuvel said the performance of Sasol's LDPE facility in Sasolburg and the experience of working with ExxonMobil Chemical before, during and after that plant came online helped convince the company that the ExxonMobil Chemical tubular process was also the best choice for its Lake Charles unit.

"The demonstrated performance of other ExxonMobil Chemical LDPE process licensees in plants with 400 thousand tonnes per year capacities was another important factor in our selection," Biesheuvel added.

The high-pressure tubular process, which has been in operation since 1968, is known for improvements and capacity expansion, as well as being used by ExxonMobil Chemical and its licensees across the globe.

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