Petrochemicals group Sasol on Monday inaugurated its C3 expansion project, which enables it to expand Secunda Chemicals Operations polypropylene production by 103 000 t/y to just over 625 000 t/y.
The R1.1-billion, Secunda-based project was lauded as a major capital investment in tough economic times by Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas.
He highlighted that not only did the investment prove that businesses were still interested in investing in South Africa, but it would also narrow the inequality gap.
“The reality is that our success as an economy will depend on the extent to which we can leverage the economy from capital. Without investment there is no growth,” he said.
Jonas encouraged South African businesses to be introspective with regard to the country’s growth.
He called on businesses, such as Sasol, to continue using their knowledge and resources in skills development.
Sasol joint president and CEO Stephen Cornell said the C3 expansion project investment further entrenched Sasol as a global chemicals player.
The project started in 2013 and achieved overall beneficial operation in February. The project aims to debottleneck Sasol’s downstream polypropylene plants to improve overall efficiency.
The project includes extracting fuel-based propylene molecules and converting these to higher-value polypropylene by replacing certain parts for the plants.
The C3 expansion project will reduce the percentage of propylene not used in the production of higher-value chemicals. Normally, the propylene that is not converted or sold for further processing into chemicals, is flared or processed into fuel.
The project is set to increase the potential foreign currency earned for South Africa, through additional exports sales, by $1.7-billion.
Sasol has been manufacturing polypropylene since 1990.