UpdateIsaac weakens to tropical storm, hits state with rain

29 August 2012 22:50  [Source: ICIS news]

Isaac causes floods(adds details, updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Isaac weakened to a tropical storm on Wednesday, but it still threatened some regions of Louisiana with up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain, meteorologists said.

Tropical Storm Isaac was 60 miles (95km) west of New Orleans, with maximum sustained wind speeds of 70 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Isaac was moving northwest at 6 miles/hour, the centre said.

Meteorologists expect 7-14 inches of rain to fall on the northern US Gulf coast, with up to 20 inches in some areas.

The centre warned that Isaac could still produce storm surges and flooding throughout the area until the end of the day.

As of Wednesday, nearly all of the oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico remained shut in, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Meanwhile close to 75% of the natural gas production is shut in.

Isaac has knocked out power in many parts of southern Louisiana, with more than 530,000 customers without electricity as of 1130 New Orleans time (16:30 GMT), according to Entergy, the region's major power company.

Phillips 66 said it shut down its 247,000 bbl/day Alliance Refinery in Belle Chasse, which was without power. Phillips 66 said it had yet to determine if flooding had damaged the refinery.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development warned of several restrictions along the state's roads, especially in the southeastern part of the state.

So far, the levees protecting New Orleans are holding, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the system.

However, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said a levee in Plaquemines Parish may be intentionally breached to relieve pressure.

Plaquemines Parish is a rural area in the far southeast of Louisiana. It is different from Plaquemine, a town in Iberville Parish that is further inland.,which is home to several petrochemical plants.

Hurricanes can disrupt the North American petrochemical industry, since oil and gas production is concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico and many of the country's refineries and petrochemical plants are on the US Gulf coast.

Several Louisiana petrochemical plants and refineries reduced operating rates or shut down in preparation for the storm. 

Dow Chemical's St Charles Operations in Louisiana remained down , while some of its units at its Plaquemine complex were either down or running at reduced rates.

In addition, Lion Copolymer has shut down its styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) plant in Baton Rouge, and Pinnacle Polymers has shut down its polypropylene (PP) plant in Garyville, Louisiana.

Westlake shut down its operations in Geismar. The complex makes chlor-alkalis and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

The following companies have announced that they were either reducing operating rates or shutting down plants.

Company

Product

Site

Status

BASF

MDI, TDI, BDO, EO

Geismar

shut

Cornerstone Chemicals

melamine

Waggaman

shut

CF Industries

fertilizers

Donaldsonville

shut

Dow Chemical


Plaquemine

shut/reduced

Dow Chemical

Ethylene, propylene, PE

Taft

shut

ExxonMobil

refined products

Chalmette

shut

ExxonMobil

refined products

Baton Rouge

reduced

Huntsman

MDI, MA

Geismar

shut

Marathon

refined products

Garyville

reduced

Lion Copolymer

SBR

Baton Rouge

shut

Mosaic

fertilizers

Faustina

shut

Mosaic

fertilizers

Uncle Sam

shut

Motiva

refined products

Convent

shut

Motiva

refined products

Norco

reduced

Olin

chlor-alkalis

St Gabriel

shut

Olin

chlor-alkalis

McIntosh, Alabama

shut

Phillips 66

refined products

Belle Chasse

shut

Pinnacle Polymers

PP

Garyville

shut

PotashCorp

fertilizers

Geismar

shut

Shell

refined products

Geismar

shut

Shell

refined products

Mobile, Alabama

reduced

Valero

refined products

St Charles

shut

Valero

refined products

Meraux

shut

Valero

refined products

Memphis, Tennessee

reduced

Westlake

chlor-alkalis, PVC

Geismar

shut

Additional reporting by Brian Balboa, Stefan Baumgarten, Wesley Busch, John Dietrich, Brian Ford, Ken Fountain, Lane Kelley, Michelle Klump, Anna Matherne, Larry Terry and Frank Zaworski


By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645



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