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Mar 20, 2009

Sasol chemicals at a glance

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Sasol's chemical businesses produce a variety of commodity and higher-value petrochemicals, fertilisers, mining explosives and pipeline gas. Its products are derived from the beneficiation (the reduction of the sulphur and mineral content) of gas coal at Sasolburg, from feedstock purchased from Sasol Synfuels at Secunda, and through manufacturing facilities and joint ventures around the globe, reports Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa.

Sasol Polymers

Sasol Polymers produces and supplies ethylene, propylene, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, mining reagents and sodium cyanide to local and international customers.

It has plants in Sasolburg and Secunda and has JVs in Malaysia and Iran. Iran is the site of Sasol Polymer's Ayra Sasol ethane cracker, which uses ethane as the source for long-chain hydrocarbons to be broken down into short-chain molecules.

Sasol Solvents

Sasol Solvents supplies chemicals such as alcohols, ketones, esters, acrylic acid testers, ethyl acetate, ethers, propionic acid, acetic acid and mining chemicals to customers worldwide. It has plants in Secunda, Sasolburg and Germiston in South Africa and in Moers and Herne in Germany, one of which is a maleic anhydride JV with Huntsman.

It has other regional companies in the Netherlands and Luxembourg; Paris; Milan; Solihull, the UK; Houston, Texas; Tokyo and Shanghai.

Sasol Olefins & Surfactants (SO&S)

SO&S manufactures and markets surfactants (most easily described as detergents, or chemicals that lower the surface tension of a liquid or the tension between two liquids), surfactant intermediates and inorganic speciality chemicals. Its products include paraffins, olefins (a synthetic fibre also known as polypropylene or polyethylene), alcohols, aluminas, zeolites (used in petrochemical cracking and in the separation and removal of gases and solvents) and oleochemicals (chemicals derived from biological oils or fats).

It has plants in Germany, Italy, Slovakia, the US, China, Dubai and South Africa. It has a Chinese JV alcohols plant with Wilmar China Investment to produce 60 000 t/y in Liányúngáng, north-eastern China.

Sasol's Other Chemical Businesses

Meanwhile, Sasol's other Chemicals Businesses fall under the company's chemical cluster umbrella term for the group that encompasses Sasol Nitro, Sasol Wax, Sasol Infrachem and Merisol.

Sasol Nitro

Sasol Nitro manufactures, markets and supplies ammonia, nitric acid, industrial explosives, fertilisers, sulphuric acid, phosphates and blasting accessories. It has plants in Sasolburg, Secunda and Bronkhorstspruit in South Africa.

It markets the ammonia, sulphur and speciality gases produced by other Sasol businesses.

Sasol Nitro oversees an ammonia business, an explosives business, a fertiliser business and Sasol Dyno Nobel which manufactures and supplies detonating cord, detonators and pentolite boosters (a high detonation pressure explosive for enhancing the explosive power of large diameter explosives).

Sasol Wax

This division manufactures and markets a comprehensive range of waxes, petroleum jellies and liquid paraffins derived from Fischer Tropsch and oil refinery feedstock to customers worldwide.

The products are supplied primarily to industries related to candle making, rubber, chipboard, cupcoating, cosmetics, personal care, dust prevention, polish, hot-metal adhesives, ink, bitumen and polymer conversion.

It encompasses Sasol Wax International Aktiengesellschaft and Sasol Wax in Hamburg, Sasol Wax Americas in Connecticut, Luxco Wax in California, Sasol Wax Malaysia, Sasol Wax Australia, the Alexandria Wax Product Company in Egypt, and Price's Candles in Johannesburg.

Sasol Infrachem

Sasol Infrachem converts natural gas for use as a petrochemical feedstock and provides utilities, infrastructure and site support to the chemical and related businesses in and around the Sasolburg complex. It is responsible for Sasolburg's site governance and managing Sasol's reputation in the Free State province.


Merisol is a JV between Sasol and US chemical company Merichem. It manufactures cresols and phenolic products including xylenols and elkylphenols. Phenolic describes simple hydrocarbon groups, similar to alcohols, which are used where rigid materials are needed, particularly to create mouldings for consumer products, for some bearings, for insulation, and as a binder. It has plants in Johannesburg and Houston and joint production facilities in Sasolburg and Hong Kong.


Edited by: Laura Tyrer
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