Sasol, LyondellBasell agreement finalized

John Guidroz

A joint venture between Sasol and LyondellBasell that involves Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Complex was officially completed Wednesday, officials said.

The transaction, first announced in October, had Sasol selling half of the stake in its 1.5 million ton ethane cracker, two polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure to LyondellBasell for $2 billion. The joint venture, known as Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene JV LLC, closed after approval by shareholders, along with regulatory approvals.

The agreement calls for LyondellBasell to operate the three units on Sasol’s behalf and market the polyethylene products on behalf of the two shareholders of the joint venture. A news release said 400 Sasol Lake Charles employees that are supporting the effort now work for LyondellBasell.

Sasol will continue to fully own and operate its Lake Charles research and development facility, as well as 11 other Lake Charles chemical manufacturing sites. It will continue to own vacant land on site that is ready for development.

Bob Patel, LyondellBasell CEO, said in a statement that the joint venture will help grow its core business and set up the company to “benefit from improving economic conditions.”

“We believe our ability to operate efficiently and serve growing markets will create exceptional long-term value for our shareholders and both companies,” he said.

Fleetwood Grobler, Sasol president and CEO, said the agreement moves the focus of the company’s business to specialty chemicals.

Sasol officials announced in April an expected loss of $50 million to $100 million for the Lake Charles Chemicals Complex because of falling oil prices and a global drop in product demand. Senior and executive employees reacted with a 20 percent salary reduction for eight months. Supervisory-level employees took a 10 percent cut.A joint venture between Sasol and LyondellBasell that involves Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemical Complex, has Sasol selling half of the stake in its 1.5 million ton ethane cracker, two polyethylene plants and associated infrastructure to LyondellBasell for $2 billion.

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