Engineering News

October 21, 2011

Texas-based engineering, procurement and construction management company S&B Engineers & Constructors has been awarded a contract by South African energy and chemicals group Sasol to construct its ethylene tetramerisation plant at Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The plant will use Sasol’s proprietary technology to convert ethylene to 1-octene and 1-hexene. This unique process was developed in Sasol’s South Africa-based research and development laboratories, and selectively produces alpha olefins required for the high-growth polymer markets.

Engineers and scientists from Sasol North America worked with an international team to design the unit, which will use the new technology on an industrial manufacturing scale.

“We are committed to providing Sasol and the local community with a safe working environment and a world-class project,” says S&B Engineers & Constructors presidentJames Slaughter Jr.

Sasol senior group executive for operations André de Ruyter reports that the project is targeted for start-up in mid-2013, and will produce 100 000 t/y of combined 1-octene and 1-hexene.

With current production of over 350 000 t/y, Sasol is a major producer of comonomer range alpha olefins. The higher olefins 1-octene and 1-hexene are used as comonomers in the manufacture of linear low-density polyethylene, high-density poly- ethylene and elastomers.

Further, the products impart elasticity and strength to plastic used in consumer products such as food packaging, bags, toys, automotive interiors and power cable coatings.