Interview article by Joseph Chang
NEW YORK (ICIS)--LyondellBasell, arguably the most exposed to Hurricane Harvey with its nine sites on the US Gulf Coast, has seen no major physical damage at its petrochemical plants, allowing it to target normal operations at most of its sites by the end of September or early October, its CEO said on Tuesday.
“Overall, this storm was more about water than wind. I’m happy to report that there was no major physical damage from wind or flood,” said Bob Patel, chairman and CEO of LyondellBasell, in an interview with ICIS.
Where it could run them safely, the company continued operations at some plants during the storm at low operating rates, while shutting down others, he noted.
“Today we are well into recovery efforts, working through various stages of restart. By the end of the month or early October, we should largely be back to normal, but it is site by site,” said Patel.
LyondellBasell has a number of force majeures in place – for polyethylene (PE), butadiene (BD), butanediol (BDO), styrene, ethylene oxide (EO) ethylene glycol (EG), propylene glycol (PG), glycol ethers, ethanolamines, acetic acid, vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) and other products.
Challenges in restarting plants and getting them to normal operations include raw material dislocations, restoration of utilities services and industrial gases supply, and ship and rail logistics.
“There are a lot of moving parts. Once we come up, we want to make sure everything is available [to move the product through the supply chain],” said Patel.
Hurricane Harvey, while causing a record level of flooding, does not change the long-term prospects for petrochemical investment in the US Gulf Coast, the CEO noted.
Image above: Bob Patel