Already shaky after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, resin markets got another case of the jitters Oct. 6 when an explosion hit Formosa Plastics Corp. USA's plastics and petrochemicals complex in Port Comfort, Texas.
The blast injured 11 people, one seriously. Rob Thibault, spokesman for the Livingston-based company, said Oct. 7 he was not sure when the plant will restart.
The cause is under investigation, he said.
The Point Comfort plant accounts for 4 percent of North American production capacity for ethylene monomer, 8 percent of high density polyethylene, 2 percent of linear low density PE, 7 percent of polypropylene, 9 percent of vinyl chlorine monomer and 9 percent of PVC.
The explosion, followed by a fire, occurred in the complex's ``olefins 2'' unit, which was scheduled for regular maintenance the week of Oct. 10.
Kevin McCarthy, an analyst with Banc of America Securities in New York, said Formosa has two ethylene crackers at Point Comfort with combined annual production capacity of 3.4 billion pounds.
``Duration of the outage is key, but remains unclear at this early stage,'' McCarthy said.