More petrochemical plants that were shut ahead of Hurricane Ida's Aug. 29 landfall in Louisiana began restarting over the weekend of Sept. 11, while Texas petrochemical operators were preparing for heavy rain along much of the Texas Coast ahead of Tropical Storm Nicholas' arrival.
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Formosa Plastics USA's polyvinyl chloride operations at the company's Point Comfort, Texas, complex were shutting down ahead of Nicholas' expected landfall about 30 to 40 miles east across Matagorda Bay, sources familiar with company operations said Sept. 13.
However, units were not shutting down completely, sources said. Units were to remain on in a so-called "warm" shutdown, which allows them to ramp back up more quickly after the storm passes than if shut down completely.
Formosa spokesperson Fred Neske declined comment on operational issues Sept. 13 except to say the company has comprehensive procedures to prepare for severe weather and would implement them as necessary, as is typical for all producers along the US Gulf Coast and elsewhere in the US.
Other producers with operations further from Nicholas' expected landfall were largely not shutting down, but monitoring the storm and preparing for its arrival.
LyondellBasell operates a 1.13 million mt/year cracker in Corpus Christi, 125 miles west of Nicholas' expected landfall, and polyethylene plants in Matagorda next to the bay and Victoria, about 90 miles west of Matagorda.
Spokesperson Chevalier Gray declined comment Sept. 13 on those units, but said the company's US Gulf Coast sites had initiated preparations which may include testing generators and communication systems, moving or anchoring potential projectile objects and placing sandbags at low-lying and critical areas, such as control rooms.
Meanwhile, restarts in Louisiana post-Ida were progressing with restoration of electric power and flows of critical industrial gas feedstocks slowly increasing.
Formosa Plastics USA's polyvinyl chloride complex resumed normal output over the weekend of Sept. 11, according to sources familiar with company operations.
OxyChem, the chemical division of Occidental Petroleum, has restarted its ethylene dichloride plants in Geismar and Convent with a combined capacity of 928,000 mt/year, as well as a chlor-alkali unit in Convent that can produce up to 353,000 mt/year of chlorine and 387,912 mt/year of caustic soda, according to sources familiar with company operations.
Olin also early Sept. 13 restarted its chlor-alkali unit in St. Gabriel, which can produce up to 250,000 mt/year of chlorine and 275,725 mt/year of caustic soda, also according to sources familiar with company operations.
None of the company responded to requests for comment.
NOVA Chemicals spokesperson Jennifer Nanz aid Sept. 13 that the company's 977,000 mt/year cracker in Geismar, one of only two merchant crackers in the US, also had restarted and was "working to resume normal operation throughout the week."
However, OxyChem's chlor-alkali plant in Taft remained shut down, as did Shell Chemicals' two crackers in Norco with a combined capacity of 1.55 million mt/year. Both sites are in St. Charles Parish, where Entergy, the major power provider in Louisiana, said Sept. 13 was slated to have power restored by Sept. 29 at the latest.
Here is a rundown of continued fallout from Hurricane Ida:
**ExxonMobil chemical complex: 1 million mt/year cracker; 400,000 mt/year HDPE; 400,000 mt/year LDPE; 900,000 mt/year LLDPE; 410,000 mt/year polypropylene
**Formosa Plastics USA: 513,000 mt/year PVC; 653,000 mt/year vinyl chloride monomer
**Olin: 850,000 mt/year chlorine; 934,066 mt/year caustic soda
**Dow Chemical: 1 million mt/year and 500,000 mt/year crackers; 750,000 mt/year HDPE; 184,000 mt/year and 350,000 mt/year LDPE; 544,000 mt/year LLDPE
**Shintech: 500,000 mt/year cracker; 600,000 mt/year PVC; 1.77 million mt/year VCM; 2 million mt/year ethylene dichloride; 1.16 million mt/year chlorine; 1.28 million mt/year caustic soda
**Westlake Chemical: 861,826 mt/year PVC; 725,747 mt/year VCM; 1.15 million mt/year EDC; 426,376 mt/year chlorine; 453,592 mt/year caustic soda
**Shintech: 900,000 mt/year PVC
**Westlake Chemical: 589,669 mt/year PVC; 625,000 mt/year EDC; 317,514 mt/year chlorine; 349,266 mt/year caustic soda
**OxyChem: 315,000 mt/year EDC; 353,000 mt/year chlorine; 387,912 mt/year caustic soda
**NOVA Chemicals: 977,000 mt/year cracker
**OxyChem: 613,000 mt/year EDC; 353,000 mt/year chlorine; 387,912 mt/year caustic soda
**Olin: 250,000 mt/year chlorine; 274,725 mt/year caustic soda
**CosMar, one of two 579,000 mt/year styrene units
**Methanex: Two methanol units, each 1 million mt/year
**Shell Chemicals: 375,000 mt/year ethylene glycols
**Dow Chemical: Two crackers, 635,000 mt/year and $365,000 mt/year; 750,000 mt/year HDPE; 800,000 mt/year LLDPE
**OxyChem: 680,000 mt/year chlorine; 747,252 mt/year caustic soda
**Shell Chemicals: 625,000 mt/year and 930,000 mt/year crackers; 265,351 mt/year butadiene
**Pinnacle Polymers: 430,000 mt/year PP
**CosMar: One of two 579,000 mt/year styrene units
**Total Energies, 660,000 mt/year polystyrene
**YCI: Methanol unit, 1.7 million mt/year
**Americas Styrenics, two lines, 499,000 mt/year and 453,000 mt/year
St. Louis Bay, Mississippi
**DAK Americas, 430,000 mt/year PET
**Pinnacle Polymers: Declared Aug. 30 for all products due to impacts of the storm.
**OxyChem: Declared Aug. 30 on water treatment products marketed under ACL, Towerbrom and Towerchlor brands, as well as cyanuric acid.
**DAK Americas: Declared Aug. 30 on PET.
**OxyChem: Declared Aug. 31 for chlorine, caustic soda, ethylene dichloride, sulfuric acid, potassium hydroxide, methylene chloride, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, perchloroethylene
**Westlake Chemical: Declared Aug. 31 for PVC and VCM.
**Shintech: Declared Sept. 1 for caustic soda.
**Westlake Chemical: Declared Sept. 2 for caustic soda.
**Formosa Plastics USA: Declared Sept. 5 on PVC.
**Dow Chemical: Declared Sept. 8 on LLDPE and HDPE