plant incident graphic

Sasol officials confirmed an explosion and fire occurred Monday afternoon at the Lake Charles Chemicals Project low-density polyethylene unit.

Kim Cusimano, Sasol spokesperson, said in a news release issued Tuesday that the incident occurred at 1:15 p.m. while the unit was “in the final stages of commissioning and startup.”

“The fire was extinguished and all employees and contractors are safe and accounted for,” she said.

Cusimano said the low-density polyethylene unit had not achieved beneficial operation by its planned December timeline. Since the incident, she said the unit was shut down, and the cause of the explosion and fire is being investigated. Investigators will also determine the amount of damage and the impact the explosion had on the unit’s beneficial operation schedule.

The incident did not impact any other Lake Charles units, including the ethane cracker, ethylene glycol/ethylene oxide and linear low-density polyethylene units, Cusimano said.

“The ethane cracker has achieved nameplate capacity following the successful replacement of the acetylene reactor catalyst in the plant during December,” she said.

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