UpdateTexas Gulf coast awash in forces majeures

18 September 2008 18:36  [Source: ICIS news]

FMs rise on Ike(Adds paragraphs 1-2, clarifies paragraphs 10-12)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Shell has declared force majeure (FM) on phenol and acetone at its Deer Park plant in Texas, a source close to the company said on Thursday, adding to the already long list of FMs caused by Hurricane Ike

Acetone capacity at Shell’s Deer Park plant is 363,000 tonnes/year while phenol capacity is 590,000 tonnes/year.

Rohm and Haas on Thursday declared force majeure (FM) on acrylate, methacrylate and specialty monomer products as a result of disruptions caused by Hurricane Ike.

The Rohm and Haas products are made at its Deer Park and Bayport plants on the Texas Gulf coast, the company said. The measure applies to both internal and external customers.

Although the plants "fared reasonably well" through Hurricane Ike, they have been unable to restart due to "multiple disruptions among suppliers and distributors along the [Houston] ship channel", Rohm and Haas said.

Minor repairs and clean-up at the plants were under way, the company said, but the sites could be brought on line without access to energy and raw materials.

Hurricane Ike has disrupted chemical operations along much of the Gulf coast after hitting Texas on late Friday-early Saturday.

Many areas were under mandatory evacuation orders, which prevented employees from turning up to work. In addition, almost all of the Houston area initially lacked  power.

Also, ports along the Gulf coast have restricted access to vessels. A queue exceeding 100 vessels had formed outside of the Houston Ship Channel, according to the US Coast Guard.

Bayer MaterialScience has declared force majeure (FM) on polycarbonate (PC) resins and blends in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the company said.

Its Makrolon PC, Bayblend PC/acylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and Makroblend PC/polyester in North America were included in the declaration. "Supply of these products is impaired as a result of the effect of Hurricane Ike on Bayer MaterialScience operations," said spokesman Bill Allan.

The company's 260,000 tonne/year Baytown polycarbonate plant in Texas remained shut down, according to buyers. Makrolon polycarbonate resin and polycarbonate blends are used in the production of automotive lenses, optical data storage devices such as CDs and DVDs, medical devices, computer housings, food storage containers and sporting goods and equipment.

DuPont declared force majeure on its ethylene copolymers business due to damage caused by Hurricane Ike to its Sabine plant in Orange, Texas. The producer did not say when it would restart operations.

Additional reporting by Larry Terry and Al Greenwood

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By: Heather McGuire Doyle
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