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Sasol establishes facility to increase polyethylene production

15th January 2014

The South African international energy and chemical company has opened a new new ethylene purification plant

Sasol Polymers

Sasol's chief executive officer, David Constable, and South African Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies have installed a new ethylene purification unit, known as the Ethylene Purification Unit 5 (EPU5), in Sasolburg.

The plant, which is located at the Sasol Polymers Plant, intends to handle the increasing demand for polyethylene material.

It will also put to better use Sasol’s current downstream polyethylene facilities.

Constable revealed that “Through the installation of the new ethylene splitter, considerable production capacity has been freed up to produce more ethylene.”

He emphasized that “In so doing, our investment in EPU5, together with a new compressor unit in Secunda, will provide the South African plastics manufacturing industry with an additional 47,000 tons of polyethylene annually.”

The unit, EPU5, is already operational with half of the additional 47,000 tons of polyethylene reaching completion within the next six months, while the plant is estimated to reach full capacity by 2017.

Marinus Sieberhagen, the managing director of Sasol Polymers, commented that the “South African plastics industry is a significant contributor to the national economy. Local demand for polyethylene polymers continues to grow at a rate of 4 to 5% annually.”

He added that because of “a rise in new plant capacities and the need to be globally competitive, we recognised the necessity to expand both polymer and ethylene production.”

The facility has also been devised to decrease the “hydrocarbon flaring,” which shrinks the carbon footprint of Sasol’s total ethylene production capacity in South Africa.

Constable further commented that the “project not only illustrates our unwavering focus on unlocking the full potential of our chemical assets, but it also demonstrates our commitment to our customers to ensure improved supply, and our belief in, and support for, the communities in which we live and work.”


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