Sasol Polymers' monomer units enter month-long turnaround

31 August 2012 14:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--South Africa's Sasol Polymers will shut down the monomer units at its Secunda synfuels complex from 31 August to 29 September for major scheduled maintenance, but it will be able to "flex the source of ethylene", a source at the company said on Friday.

The Secunda complex includes ethylene and propylene monomer units as well as two polypropylene (PP) plants, according to ICIS Plants and Projects (see table at bottom of story).

Sasol's PP units will be shut down for shorter periods of one to two weeks during the September period, the source said, but declined to specify dates.

Sasol Polymers has built up sufficient stock to ensure that all customer orders will be fully supplied during and after the shutdown, it added.

"The Secunda Synfuels complex consists of four phases, one of which is planned to be down for the scheduled September shutdown. ...Sasol Polymers has an integrated structure of plants, allowing it to flex the source of ethylene during the shutdown.

"In this case, the Secunda eastern factory and a second phase in the western factory remain on line, ensuring supply of ethylene to the ethylene purification plant in the eastern factory," the source said.

Sasol Polymers also produces polyethylene (PE) grades - low-density polyethylene (LDPE), linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) - and vinyls - vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) - and chloralkali chemicals at Sasolburg, approximately 200 km (124 miles) from Secunda.

"We also have a small cracker facility in Sasolburg to crack ethane, sourced from our Secunda complex, and the Turbo SCC cracker in Secunda, which will remain on line during this shutdown period, to ensure ethylene supply," the source added.

The chlor-alkali units will be shut down, again for shorter periods of one to two weeks during the September period, but no dates are being specified by the company. Sasol has also declined to confirm if its PE units would be shut down during the month-long scheduled maintenance.

Commenting on the recent improvement in its PE supply, the source said: "LDPE supply has improved due to much better stability from our upstream supplier [Sasol Synfuels] and operational improvements in our own conversion plants. Our EPU5 [fifth ethylene purification unit] unit is still under construction, so the stable supply is yielded from our existing assets."

Sasol Polymers facilities


By: Cuckoo James
+44 (0) 208 652 3214

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