Mexico’s Altamira petrochemicals players breathe sigh of relief as Beryl weakens

Jonathan Lopez


SAO PAULO (ICISI)–Fears that Hurricane Beryl could cause widespread disruption to petrochemicals production in the Altamira hub, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, have now subsided as the hurricane weakens on its path through the Caribbean.

Beryl was a powerful Category 5 hurricane until a few hours ago but has quickly weakened to a Category 3 as it heads towards the Mexican peninsula of Yucatan.

After that, it is expected to weaken further and reach Tamaulipas and the US state of Texas a storm, much less destructive and not a cause of concern for industrial assets in those regions.

A spokesperson for Alpek, one of Mexico’s main chemicals producers, said Beryl is now expected to only cause manageable rainfall in Altamira; that rainfall will be very much welcome after the area suffered a severe drought for months.

“At the moment, the prediction is that it will only rain in Altamira [when Beryl passes through] and we do not expect it to have an impact in our operations,” said a spokesperson for Alpek.

The petrochemicals hub in Altamira also hosts companies such Orbia, Dynasol, Cabot, or Chemours, among many others.

None of the producers mentioned had responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Altamira’s petrochemicals players had been struggling with water restrictions for industrial players since May, when a severe drought in Tamaulipas prompted the authorities to restrict water supplies.

The situation caused widespread disruption to chemicals production; in mid-June, it started improving as water supplies to households, first, and to industrial players later were re-established.

The fact that Beryl is expected to cause only rainfall, without risk of flooding, will also be welcome.

In an interview with ICIS in mid-June, an expert from supply chain consultancy Everstreams said that, while much awaited, rainfall in the form of storms or hurricanes could cause as much havoc as the drought had caused.

“With flooding, there is potential for things like landslides and run-offs, which can block roads and highways, So, companies are hoping that it will be some kind of happy middle ground, where the rain is not too extreme as to present added challenges and issues,” said Everstreams’ Jena Santoro.

Earlier on Thursday, the US’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Beryl should hit northern Mexico and southern US as a storm, which would spare industrial assets in those regions – including several petrochemicals hubs as well as refineries – from a big hit to operations.

Meteorologists have warned that this year’s hurricane season could be the most active ever, with 17-25 named storms.

Out of those, between eight and 13 are expected to be hurricanes; between four and seven should be major hurricanes.

Major hurricanes are Category 3-5 storms with wind speeds of at least 111 miles/hour.

Beryl’s unprecedented early development into a Category 5 hurricane has been attributed to unusually warm sea temperatures, a consequence of global heating.

Source: US National Hurricane Center


Global News + ICIS Chemical Business (ICB)

See the full picture, with unlimited access to ICIS chemicals news across all markets and regions, plus ICB, the industry-leading magazine for the chemicals industry.

Contact us

Partnering with ICIS unlocks a vision of a future you can trust and achieve. We leverage our unrivalled network of industry experts to deliver a comprehensive market view based on independent and reliable data, insight and analytics.

Contact us to learn how we can support you as you transact today and plan for tomorrow.