Storm continues to drench Louisiana amid chem shutdowns

30 August 2012 16:38  [Source: ICIS news]

Isaac floods LouisianaHOUSTON (ICIS)--Isaac maintained tropical-storm strength as it continued to drench Louisiana on Thursday.

Several chemical plants and refineries have either reduced operating rates or shut down entirely.

As of 10:00 hours Louisiana time (15:00 hours GMT) Isaac was 165 miles (270 km) northwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, travelling north northwest at 9 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. Isaac was just barely at tropical-storm strength, with maximum sustained winds at 40 miles/hour.

Although Isaac was weakening, the centre warned that the storm is still producing heavy rains.

Some parts of Louisiana have reported more than 6 inches (15 cm) in the past 24 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

Storm surges still threaten the region, and they could reach 9 feet (3 metres) west of the Mississippi river and 11 feet east of the river, according to a statement by Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor.

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

Several parts of Louisiana remained without electricity. More than 684,000 customers in Louisiana and Mississippi were without power on Wedneday, according to Entergy, the main electrical company for the region.

The company will start restoring power once wind speeds fall below 30 miles/hour, Entergy said.

In Louisiana, several roads remain closed because of the storm, according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

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.

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. 

Also, Chevron's 330,000 bbl/day refinery at Pascagoula, Mississippi, was running at reduced rates, the company said.

Altogether, the Department of Energy reported that 11 refineries were either running at reduced rates or were shut down as a result of Isaac.

In addition, Americas Styrenics shut down its St James styrene plant in Louisiana. The plant has a combined styrene capacity of 950,000 tonnes/year.

Trade sources said a 1.16m tonne/year styrene plant in Carville, Louisiana, shut down. The facility is owned by a 50:50 joint venture made up of Total Petrochemicals USA and SABIC Petrochemicals Holding US.

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

Company

Product

Site

Status

Americas Styrenics

styrene

St James

shut

BASF

MDI, TDI, BDO, EO

Geismar

shut

Cornerstone Chemicals

melamine

Waggaman

shut

CF Industries

fertilizers

Donaldsonville

shut

Total/SABIC jv

styrene

Carville

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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