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Arkema Texas site swamped by hurricane now a logistics depot: company

Highlights

Organic peroxides production to remain shut for foreseeable future

Company has invested to prepare site for Harvey-like rainfall

The North American arm of French petrochemical producer Arkema has turned a Texas organic peroxides complex into a logistics depot for its US Gulf Coast customers, the company said Oct. 18.

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Arkema has no immediate plans to restart organic peroxides production at the Crosby, Texas, site northeast of Houston. The company said the organic peroxides industry has added new capacity over the past four years while the Crosby site was shut down.

"Demand for products made in Crosby did not, and still do not, warrant a restart of production any time soon," the company said. "Based on this, Arkema will keep Crosby production capacity idle as we continue to assess market conditions."

The site took on more than six feet of water when Hurricane Harvey drowned the Southeast Texas Coast in August 2017, dumping unprecedented amounts of rainfall that surpassed 60 inches over three days in some areas.

Organic peroxides are used as a catalyst in production of plastic resins, such as construction staple polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, polyethylene and polypropylene.

More than four years after Harvey's assault, production at the site remains shut, the company said. Arkema invested millions of dollars to repair flood damage, meet new permitting requirements, and obtain permits for new structures and features, including flood mitigation efforts to prepare for an extreme Harvey-like storm.

Those efforts included digging an 18-acre basin, which will allow a high volume of floodwater to drain form other areas at the site, the company said. Arkema also installed panels, doors and flood barriers to prevent or minimize water seeping into buildings. The company also built platforms to further elevate critical equipment, including emergency generators and refrigeration lines.

By early 2021 the company completed the permitting process for logistics and restarted those operations during the second quarter.

Employees of the Crosby site continued receiving full pay for 3.5 years after Harvey hit, Arkema said. However, "upon concluding that we would not restart production for the foreseeable future," the company eliminated about 30 positions in 2021 when unable to find new roles for Crosby employees at other company sites.

The Crosby site is one of 34 Arkema manufacturing facilities in the US.