JSE-listed chemicals and energy multinational Sasol has launched its new alkoxylation plant, in Nanjing, China.
The plant would expand Sasol's current alkoxylation capability to about 150 000 t/y, the company said in a statement this week.
The plant is able to operate using either branched or linear alcohols to meet the differentiated customer requirements in applications such as detergents, personal care, textiles and leather, metalworking and lubrication, inks, paints and coatings, as well as oil and gas, enhanced oil recovery and industrial cleaning.
The project is not only a significant expansion of Sasol's current operational footprint in the market, but also the first step towards a robust, differentiated expansion strategy for Sasol's Performance Chemicals business throughout the broader Asian region, said Sasol joint president and CEO Bongani Nqwababa.
Sasol has been a producer of surfactants, including non-ionic alcohol ethoxylates, as well as anionic alcohol ether sulphates, in China since 1992.
“For more than 25 years, we have been active in providing high-quality surfactants in China, where we see ongoing shifts towards high-value and differentiated segments,” he said.
The expansion in China underpins Sasol’s chemicals business ambitions to diversify geographically, participate in high-growth markets and grow in differentiated applications.
“I am confident this expansion will enable us to better support local customer requirements and our pursuit for continued long-term growth in the world's most important emerging market,” Nqwababa added.
Construction of the plant started in June 2017 and the plant reached beneficial operation in April, Sasol China operations VP and MD Shentu Hongxing said.
“Comprising state-of-the-art process technology, the plant will operate to the highest standards of operational safety, reliability and flexibility. Further, this technology allows us to minimise environmental impacts in full compliance with stringent environmental protection measures set by the government.
“We look forward to making a larger contribution to both the regional economy and a greener environment, while continuing to serve our customers with high-quality tailored solutions,” he noted.