Sasol purchasing land ahead of expansion decision - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Sasol purchasing land ahead of expansion decision

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) -

As Sasol waits for a decision on the multi-billion dollar expansion in Westlake, work is already underway to make it happen. If it goes through, the project would expand the plant's Westlake facility to a combined 1,400 acres to include property between the Old Spanish Trail, Houston River Road, Evergreen Road and Kansas City Railroad.

So far, Sasol has purchased approximately 1,000 acres and signed contracts for options to buy other properties in the area.

"The option process is where we make an offer on the property. We give earnest money for an option to purchase at a later time. And the reason we are doing options is because management has not yet approved the project and we expect that project approval process to end at the end of this year. And hopefully at that time management will approve the project and we will move forward," said Mike Hayes, Sasol Corporate Affairs Manager.

Calvin and Mazel Bernard have lived off Evergreen Road for nearly 50 years.

"I built this home myself. I never thought the plant would come out this far. We were out in the woods. That's the main reason we built out here," said Calvin.

The Bernards were approached by Sasol to sell their home and more than 25 acres. They along with their son who has property and a home across the street have decided to make a deal.

"Our son decided to sell. And so we decided if he is going to leave - we are going to leave too. He's never been away from us," said Mazel.

If the plant is approved and Sasol moves forward the Bernards said they are prepared to move on and take the memories with them.

"We love it out here. I get up in the morning and go fishing in the back. We have had picnics and cookouts. We have had a good time a real good time out here," said Mazel.

The project would be home to several plants including an air to liquid facility that would make diesel from natural gas. Another plant would be the largest ethylene cracking complex in the country. The complex would be dealing with ethylene and products from ethylene like plastics and alcohols. 

"This expansion will significantly increase the size of this site. It will bring an additional 1,200 permanent jobs or more to this location and it will bring 6,000 to 7,000 construction jobs to this location for several year period. It's a large project," said Hayes.  

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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