An April 16 power outage forced Nova Chemicals Corp. to shut down its polyethylene and ethylene plants in Sarnia, Ontario.
Power quickly was restored that same day, and Pittsburgh-based Nova restarted its PE plants there on April 19.
The firm operates 830 million pounds of annual high density PE capacity at its Moore Township plant and 395 million pounds of combined high and low density PE capacity at its St. Clair River plant.
Those plants now are being run with existing ethylene inventory, said spokesman Greg Wilkinson.
The shutdown - which lasted less than 10 minutes - also affected 1.6 billion pounds of ethylene capacity and about 800 million pounds of propylene capacity at Nova's Corunna, Ontario, plant. In total, Sarnia production equals about one-third of Nova's PE capacity, one-fourth of its ethylene capacity and almost all of its propylene capacity.
Nova has declared force majeure for all three products. The impact of the event will depend on inventory levels, demand and time necessary to repair damaged equipment, officials said in an April 18 news release. Equipment damage probably is focused on furnaces used in ethylene production, according to Wilkinson.
The firm hoped to restart ethylene production at reduced rates during the weekend of April 23-24, with a full restart taking place in the next month.
The incident could affect Nova's second-quarter earnings by between $20 million and $25 million.
Local officials are investigating the cause of the power outage.
Nova also announced first-quarter financial results April 20. The firm posted a $94 million profit, after making only $7 million in the same quarter last year. Total company sales were up 32 percent to almost $1.5 billion.
In its olefins/polyolefins unit, Nova's first-quarter sales were up 35 percent to $958 million. Styrenics - including polystyrene and styrene monomer - saw sales jump 28 percent to $607 million.
Profit, however, told a different story. In olefins/polyolefins, first-quarter profit soared from $32 million in 2004 to $112 million this year, but styrenics posted a $21 million loss - close to the $22 million loss last year.