Houston — Lake Charles, Louisiana, petrochemical complexes were shut down on Oct. 9 ahead of Hurricane Delta's landfall just six weeks after Hurricane Laura battered city.
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Some producers had restarted plants by early October after electrical power had been sufficiently restored, but those restarts were short-lived with Delta bearing down on southwest Louisiana on a path mirroring that of Laura.
Producers shut plants that had been restarted on Oct. 8, a day after local officials issued mandatory evacuation orders in in Calcasieu Parish, home to Lake Charles, and Cameron Parish to its south.
Force majeures declared in Laura's aftermath remained in effect Oct. 9.
Producers in far Southeast Texas, including Orange and Port Arthur, implemented storm preparation plans ahead of Delta's outer winds. The Houston Ship Channel, the second-largest petrochemical port in the world behind Rotterdam, and ports in far Southeast Texas and Lake Charles also closed on Oct. 8 amid high winds and seas.
By the afternoon of Oct. 9, Delta had weakened to a Category 2 storm with 110 mph winds. Laura came ashore Aug. 27 as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds, severely damaging major electricity transmission lines, trees and structures. Aerial footage showed a sea of blue tarps on roofs across Lake Charles, some of which were blowing as Delta's initial winds reached the city.
Here are operational and pricing effects of the storm:
**CP Chem: FM declared Sept. 1 on US polyethylene.
**Westlake Polymers: FM declared Aug. 31 on US polyethylene.
**Sasol: FM declared Aug. 31 on all North American polyethylene, including all LLDPE and HDPE grades.
**Westlake Chemical: FM declared on Aug. 31 on all North American PVC and VCM.
**LyondellBasell: FM declared Aug. 31 on US polypropylene.
**INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA: FM declared Aug. 26 on HDPE at 460,000 mt/year unit in La Porte, Texas; plant is a joint venture with Sasol.
**Formosa Plastics USA: FM declared Aug. 14 on PVC at its Texas and Louisiana operations; unrelated to Hurricane Laura.
**Sasol: 1.5 million mt/year and 439,000 mt/year crackers; 470,000 mt/year LLDPE; 380,000 mt/year ethylene oxide/monoethylene glycol; a new 420,000 mt/year LDPE plant slated to start up in October. Shut down units that had restarted post-Laura; others remained shut.
**Westlake Chemical: three chlor-alkali plants, combined capacity of 1.27 million mt/year of chlorine and 1.36 million mt/year of caustic soda; two vinyl chloride monomer plants, combined capacity of 952,543 mt/year; a 1.8 million mt/year ethylene dichloride plant; two crackers, combined capacity of 1.19 million mt/year; 200,000 mt/year LLDPE; 60,000 mt/year HDPE/LLDPE; 386,000 mt/year LDPE; 258,547 mt/year styrene. Shut down chlor-alkali and PE plants and crackers that had restarted post-Laura, other units had remained shut.
**Lotte Chemical: 1 million mt/year joint-venture cracker; 700,000 mt/year MEG plant. Had not restarted post-Laura.
**LyondellBasell: 400,000 mt/year and 1 million mt/year PP plants. Assessing damage. Had restarted both plants; shut down as of Oct. 8 ahead of Delta's landfall.
**NOVA Chemical: 928,000 mt/year cracker in Geismar, Louisiana, shut mid-September for unplanned repairs unrelated to storms; postponing restart until after Delta passes.
**Dow Chemical: 882,000 mt/year cracker; 236,000 mt/year LDPE; reducing staff to essential personnel on Oct. 9.
**CP Chem: 420,000 mt/year HDPE
**US spot polymer-grade propylene prices rose 0.25 cent to 34.50 cents/lb FD USG on Oct. 9.
**US toluene prices rose week on week Oct. 9 in a spurt of liquidity for commercial grade and outages related to the storm. Nitration-grade toluene rose 16 cents to a six-month high of 167 cents/gal FOB USG, while commercial grade rose 12 cents to 157 cents/gal FOB.
**US spot ethylene prices rose 0.75 cent Friday to 21.75 cents/lb FD Mont Belvieu.
PORTS AND RAILROADS
**Port of Lake Charles: Closed Oct. 8.
**Ports of Port Arthur, Orange, Sabine and Beaumont, Texas: Closed Oct. 8.
**Houston Ship Channel: Closed Oct. 8.
**Port of New Orleans: Closed to inbound traffic Oct. 8.
**Union Pacific: City of New Orleans' decision to leave some flood gates open allows some interchanges with eastern rail carriers; preparations under way for any potential Delta-related outages
**BNSF: Holding New Orleans-bound trains and re-routing traffic as needed with some New Orleans flood gates left open; preparations under way for potential outages