Picture: BLOOMBERG / WALDO SWIEGERS
Picture: BLOOMBERG / WALDO SWIEGERS

Chemicals and energy group Sasol, the world’s largest producer of oil from coal, says initial indications are there is no further damage from Hurricane Delta to its Lake Charles facility in the US.

Hurricane Delta made landfall on October 9, and is the second hurricane to disrupt activity at the facility in 2020.

In August, Hurricane Laura caused widespread electrical blackouts and other damage, though Sasol said seven chemical manufacturing units had now returned to operation “and all remaining units which were operating prior to Hurricane Laura are expected to return to operation by end-October 2020”.

Sasol suspended operations as a precautionary measure due to Hurricane Delta, though employees had safely resumed their duties and there was sufficient power, Sasol said in an update.

Lake Charles has been a significant headache for Sasol, with the group also having to grapple with cost overruns in constructing the plant, while an explosion in that facility earlier in 2020 also disrupted operations.

Earlier in October, Sasol announced a $2bn (R33bn) agreement to sell part of its Lake Charles business to multinational chemicals group LyondellBasell.

If approved by Sasol shareholders, LyondellBasell would pick up 50% of the Lake Charles base chemicals business, and the two parties would form a joint venture.

Sasol’s share has lost more than two-thirds of its value so far in 2020.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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