26 March 2007 01:25 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS news)--Concern about the hurricanes threat to the US chemicals industry remains high despite the relatively mild 2006 storm season in the US Gulf, industry officials said on Sunday.
Official US weather forecasters had predicted last year that the June-through-November 2006 hurricane season would be active, but it turned out to be relatively quiet.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 knocked out many offshore oil and gas platforms as well as coastal refineries and chemical plants for months. In 2006, energy and chemical companies and end-users put in place elaborate plans to cope with what was forecast to be a rough hurricane season.
There were indications that chemical buyers in some markets built higher-than-usual inventories in case of a repeat of the supply disruptions.
The hurricane threat "is clearly in folks' scenario planning going forward", said David Aldous, chairman of the program committee for the annual NPRA petrochemicals conference.
Aldous, who is also president of Shell Canada Products, said that just as market participants plan for scheduled plant turnarounds by building inventories, it would be natural to likewise plan for the possibility of a hurricane-caused shutdown.
But he declined to make any specific assessment of how market participants would be preparing for the coming hurricane season.
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