DuPont declares ethylene copolymers FM

18 September 2008 14:53  [Source: ICIS news]

(Updates, adds DuPont and Olin/PolyOne force majeure declarations)


TORONTO (ICIS news)--DuPont on Thursday declared force majeure (FM) on its ethylene copolymers business due to damage caused by Hurricane Ike to its Sabine plant in Orange, Texas, joining the long list of companies that have made such announcements in the wake of Ike.


DuPont could not say when it would restart operations in Orange.


“It is our firm commitment to make the necessary repairs that will enable us to restart operations in Orange, Texas,” said William Weber, vice president and general manager of DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers.


“Our operations team at the site is completing assessments of storm damage so that this process can begin as soon as possible,” he added.


Earlier in the day, US chlor-alkali producer Olin and polymer firm PolyOne declared force majeure at their 275,000 tonne/year caustic soda SunBelt joint-venture plant in McIntosh, Alabama, until further notice. 


The plant had been shut down because Oxy Vinyls, which is SunBelt's sole chlorine customer, declared force majeure in wake of disruptions caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the companies said.


Meanwhile, Olin lifted force majeure on its 180,000 tonne/year chlorine and 200,000 tonne/year caustic soda plants in St Gabriel, Louisiana, saying that shipments had been resumed. Olin had declared the force majeure on 10 September.


On Wednesday, US producer Huntsman declared force majeure on propylene oxide (PO) and several other products.


Huntsman also declared force majeure on monopropylene glycol (MPG), ethylene oxide (EO) and ethylene glycol (EG) from its Port Neches facility in Texas in the wake of Ike.


The Port Neches facility could produce up to 240,000 tonnes/year of PO, 65,000 tonnes/year of MPG, 460,000 tonnes/year of EO and 255,000 tonnes/year of EG, according the ICIS plants and projects database.


Huntsman also declared force majeure on methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), ethanolamines, surfactants and other materials made at its Port Neches site.


The declaration also covered alkylates made at Huntsman’s Chocolate Bayou plant; surfactants and other products made at its Dayton site; and specialty amines, carbonates, urethane catalysts and surfactants from its Conroe site. All of the plants are in Texas.


Huntsman offered no timetable for plant restarts.


“We are continuing to evaluate Hurricane Ike’s impact on our ability to manufacture and deliver products produced in these facilities, but at this point in time none of the plants are operational, there are extensive power outages as well as raw material and transportation constraints,” said divisional president Don Stanutz.


Earlier on Wednesday, Solvay said its Deer Park plant in Texas survived Hurricane Ike without serious damage, although the storm still led the company to declare force majeure on hydrogen peroxide, the company said on Wednesday.


The area around the 120,000 tonne/year plant was subject to a mandatory evacuation, Solvay said. In addition, a night curfew was still in effect.


Many of Solvay's suppliers and vendors were affected by the hurricane, the company said.


Solvay would enforce a 75% allocation programme for hydrogen peroxide, effective immediately, the company said. The allocation programme could remain in place for at least 60 days.


Solvay said hurricane disruptions could cost the company at least 7-10 days of production at its plant in Deer Park.


Solvay  isone of several companies to declare force majeure as a result of disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike.


Ike slammed into the Texas coast late on Friday, disrupting chemical operations along much of the region.


Additional reporting by Gene Lockard, Al Greenwood and Brian Ford in Houston and Ng Hun Wei in Singapore


For more on the companies affected US facilities visit ICIS plants and projects

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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