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ExxonMobil shuts polyethylene operations on Gulf Coast deep freeze


Company's Baytown, Beaumont, Texas operations already shut

ExxonMobil assessing impact to PE production, supply

Houston — ExxonMobil's operational shutdowns include polyethylene facilities amid power outages prompted by the deep freeze that has enveloped the US Gulf Coast, the company said in a customer letter seen by S&P Global Platts.

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"This event has caused widespread power outages across Texas and Louisiana" Feb. 15," the letter, dated Feb. 16, said. "As a consequence, several ExxonMobil Chemical operations have experienced loss of power and other key utilities, impacting our ability to resume full operations."

The letter said the company was assessing impacts to its polyethylene production and supply capabilities, and "the impact on current and future orders is still being determined."

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ExxonMobil operates three PE units in Mont Belvieu, Texas, with combined capacity of 880,000 mt/year, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics.

Exxon is among many petrochemical producers that shut Feb. 14 and subsequent days because of sustained extreme sub-freezing temperatures in the region.

ExxonMobil previously confirmed Feb. 16 that the company had shut all refining and chemical operations at its Baytown and Beaumont, Texas, complexes. Ethylene produced at Baytown feeds the Mont Belvieu PE operations.

"Due to freezing weather conditions, coupled with the curtailment of natural gas supplies throughout the state of Texas, ExxonMobil has safely shut down its Beaumont and Baytown area facilities," spokeswoman Sarah Nordin previously said in an email to Platts Feb. 16.

ExxonMobil's Baytown site includes three crackers with a cumulative 3.79 million mt/year of capacity. The Beaumont complex has 1.66 million mt/year of polyethylene capacity and an 826,000 mt/year cracker.