We highlight the following:

  • The Lake Charles television channel (KPLCTV) is expecting Laura to be a more severe hurricane than hurricanes Rita and Ike that created significant damage in the area in 2005 and 2008 respectively.  At this point the hurricane is seen as reaching level 3 status with a small probability that it gets to a category 4 hurricane. 
  • There is a high probability of Hurricane force winds (>64 knots, 120kmph) and heavy rainfall (15 inches, 380mm) in the Lake Charles area.
  • Storm surges could be significant and flooding is expected across the region as far inland as Sasol’s Lake Charles site and even beyond.
  • At this stage it appears as if the storm’s center will pass straight over Lake Charles, which is not as bad as the center making landfall to the west which would bring even more rain to the area (due to the counterclockwise rotation of a Hurricane)
  • Inhabitants of the area have been advised to evacuate or take precautions to ensure they are safe during the storm.
  • The impact on the area to the west of the hurricane (Houston area) should be significantly less than Lake Charles and West of Lake Charles

A link to the weather report in Lake Charles is here:


Impact on Sasol:

  • The Lake Charles facility is designed to withstand a category 4 hurricane.  The company has protocols in place to deal with storms and we do not expect significant structural damage.  Sasol is also insured against hurricane damage (but not loss of revenues).
  • It is very likely that the facilities in Lake Charles will be shut down with only small crews remaining on site to ensure the utilities remain operational.
  • It could take between 7 and 14 days to restart operations after a shutdown (i.e. production losses up to 14 days).
  • Logistics should also be severely disrupted (as was the case with Hurricane Harvey in the Texas area) impacting domestic product distribution as well as exports from the area.

The hurricane is an additional risk to the Sasol investment case and we will continue to track its impact on Sasol and the broader petrochemical industry.

Expected rainfall: