UPDATED — Plastics and petrochemicals units along the Texas coast were shutting down in advance of Hurricane Harvey, which was expected to hit the region as soon as Aug. 25.
Petrochemical plants in the direct line of the storm produce almost 20 percent of total U.S. capacity for plastic feedstock ethylene, according to the PetroChem Wire consulting firm. Any prolonged outages at those units could affect North American markets for polyethylene, PVC and related materials.
Dow Chemical Co. has begun shutting down its Seadrift operations, a company spokesman said Aug. 25. The firm employs more than 1,000 at the site, which produces PE resin and a range of specialty chemicals.
LyondellBasell Industries announced Aug. 25 that it is conducting a controlled shutdown of its Texas sites in Matagorda, Victoria, Chocolate Bayou and Corpus Christi. The company also has taken steps to address potential flooding at its Houston refinery and its La Porte, Bayport and Channelview complexes, and its Lake Charles polymers plant in Louisiana.
Formosa Plastics Corp. USA began taking its complex in Point Comfort, Texas, offline on Aug. 24, a company spokesman said in an email. Plastics products made at that site include PE, polypropylene and PVC resins.
The spokesman added that FPC "is implementing its tropical weather procedure."
"Nonessential personnel have been dismissed and the site will be staffed with an internal, specially trained team," he added. "All operating units are, or will be, shut down in advance of the storm's landfall."