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Sasol says tetramerization unit halfway complete

Last Modified: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 8:00 PM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

One week after Sasol announced it will invest up to $21 billion in its Westlake facility, officials with the South Africa-based company said Tuesday that a separate project — its tetramerization unit — is halfway complete and already accounts for 36 high-paying jobs.

In October 2011, Sasol announced it would build the world’s first tetramerization unit, which would have a direct annual impact of more than $15 million. At that time, officials were touting it as a huge win for the area, one that would bring in 500 construction jobs for a two-year period.

Tetramerization, the process of reacting four ethylene molecules to produce one octene molecule, was developed in Sasol’s labs in South Africa. Octene is used to produce consumer products such as food packaging, bags, toys and power cable coatings.

The unit is expected to start up in late 2013.

“We are happy to report that we have hired or promoted the individuals who will fill the 36 new positions for the unit, and some of them are already in the unit helping to ensure safe construction activities and writing the safe work procedures,” Randy King, tetramerization unit manager, said at the news conference Tuesday.

Through peer-to-peer safety observations in November at the unit, the company matched $1 per observation to be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Angel program.

“This focus on safety is benefiting our community in a tangible way,” King said.

Sasol, along with several of its contract companies that matched the funds, presented a check to the Salvation Army for nearly $16,000 at the news conference.

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