Sasol enters testing phase

Flares, loud noises associated with clearing lines as Westlake project reaches 88 percent completion

<p class="p1">Over the next several months, Sasol will begin testing systems and machinery ahead of starting up its $11.13 billion ethane cracker and derivatives complex project in Westlake, officials said.</p><p class="p1">Kim Cusimano, Sasol’s government and public affairs manager, said on Monday that the testing is set to start later this month and will include “safety devices such as flares” along with “process, utility, electrical and instrumentation systems.” Sasol has been commissioning systems since last year, but the upcoming phase will be noticeably louder, she said.</p><p class="p1">“In order to clear lines and test them, there is some noise related to that,” Cusimano said. “This is really us trying to be proactive of some typical noises and heightened levels on site.”</p><p class="p1">She said Sasol will work to notify residents of any noises that may occur before the testing starts. Residents can sign up to receive alerts through the SasolTEXT system by visiting</p><p class="p1">As of June 30, Cusimano said the project is 88 percent complete, with a cumulative capital spending of $9.85 billion. Sasol plans to start up three of the six derivative units by the end of this year, and start the remaining units by the second half of 2019.</p><p class="p1">Sasol has filled 623 of the 700 permanent jobs associated with the new complex, with Calcasieu Parish residents making up 72 percent of those hires, Cusimano said. There are 7,000 temporary construction workers currently on site, she said.</p><p class="p1">Cusimano said Sasol has committed more than $4 billion to Southwest Louisiana businesses, including contractors, subcontractors, vendors and suppliers.</p><p class="p1">The new complex will bring Sasol’s permanent employment in Southwest Louisiana to over 1,150 by 2019, which includes the more than 450 jobs at its existing facility. </p><p class="p1">Residents can get more information on the testing by calling Sasol’s 24-hour community information line at 494-5301.</p>””<p>In this file photo, officials closed roads Wednesday, January 6, 2018 to allow Sasol to transport a 50-foot-tall section of an ethane cracker.</p>