Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemicals Complex has been damaged by Hurricane Laura and has lost power.
The company reported that the hurricane came ashore near the complex, in southwest Louisiana, on August 27. The stoppage would not disrupt Sasol’s planned sales.
Hurricane Laura caused widespread electrical blackouts and prevented Sasol from operating some systems. High-voltage transmission lines into Lake Charles have been damaged.
Strong winds caused some damage to cooling towers at the chemicals complex. Sasol said its recovery crews had started damage assessment. Early reports suggest no damage to process equipment and no flooding damage, caused by the storm surge.
The company had activated various safety protocols in order to protect its workforce, the environment and the integrity of the facilities. This led to a shutdown of work at Lake Charles, in addition to facilities at Green Bayou and Winnie, Texas.
The storm did not disrupt the Texan manufacturing operations.
The South African company said it was supporting employees in the areas and providing temporary housing, transportation and basic amenities.
Bringing plants back into operation will depend on the availability of resources, including electricity and feedstocks.
Sasol does have Atlantic Named Wind Storm (ANWS) insurance for units that are both operating and under construction.
The Lake Charles covers around 6 square km. The ethyloxylation plant reached beneficial operation in January 2020 and the Ziegler and Guerbet plants in June.
The company launched a process to overhaul its operations this year, as its share price plummeted. As of the end of June, the company had sold assets for $600 million, including a stake in an explosives business and stake in a Nigerian gas-to-liquid (GTL) project.
Assets up for sale, including the base chemicals unit in the US, include Sasol’s share in a Mozambique pipeline company, Rompco, and power producer Central Térmica de Ressano Garcia (CTRG).