Sasol ethylene plant at Secunda, S Africa hit by explosion

01 September 2004 11:48  [Source: ICIS news]

JOHANNESBURG (CNI)--Sasol’s synthetic fuel facility at Secunda, South Africa was rocked by an explosion on Wednesday at an ethylene unit, the firm said.

The blast at the Sasol Polymers division facility occurred at 0740 hours GMT, it explained, adding that there were an unknown number of injuries.

"The explosion was at the Sasol Polymers ethylene plant which was undergoing routine maintenance," Sasol spokesman Johann van Rheede told CNI. "There may be some fatalities...We're busy securing the site right now." 

Van Rheede was unable to give details of the capacity of the plant or whether operations at the entire Secunda synfuels complex had been halted because of the accident.

"I couldn't comment on that yet," van Rheede said. He said Sasol would make a fuller statement later in the day.

According to CNI database, the Secunda ethylene plant can produce 360 000 tonne/year of ethylene and 330 000 tonne/year of propylene.

The 155 000 barrels per day synfuels plant converts coal into chemical feedstocks and synthetic fuels such as petrol and diesel.

Sasol Polymers is Sasol's most profitable unit, contributing Rand884m($133m/Euro110m) to total chemicals earnings of Rand1.91bn in the financial year to 30 June. 

By: Steve Swindells
+44 20 8652 3214

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