Resin and feedstock production at plants in Lake Charles, La., are not expected to restart until late September at best after being impacted by Hurricane Laura.
Most of the Lake Charles area has been without power since the storm made landfall on Aug. 26. Although resin plants avoided major damage, electrical lines in the region were impacted.
LyondellBasell Industries operates almost 3 billion pounds of polypropylene resin capacity in Lake Charles. In a Sept. 18 email to Plastics News, media relations manager Chevalier Gray said that as of Sept. 16, reliable power to the Lake Charles area, including the firm's PP plant, is not expected until mid-October.
"Many repairs at the plant and most of the internal infrastructure is complete." Gray added. "Our Lake Charles facility is working to complete the final repairs and anticipates restarting the facility shortly after power is restored."
Other LyondellBasell plants in the U.S. Gulf Coast region that were taken down in advance of the hurricane have restarted. That includes almost 4 billion pounds of PP capacity in Bayport, Texas.
LyondellBasell's continued outage in Lake Charles will be a factor in ongoing tightness in North American PP supplies. Demand for the resin has improved in recent months as industries recover from earlier shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gray said that LyondellBasell's top priority continues to be the safety of employees, their families and the community. To support recovery efforts, LyondellBasell has provided generators and other supplies to employees and their families as they work to clean up damage and repair and rebuild their homes.
The firm has donated $50,000 to the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana and more than $150,000 in supplies for employees and community members including generators, portable air conditioners, tarps and more than 400 gallons of fuel.
Westlake Chemical Corp. operates almost 1.4 billion pounds of polyethylene resin capacity and almost 2.1 billion pounds of capacity for PVC resin feedstock VCM in Lake Charles. In a Sept. 8 news release, officials with Westlake in Houston said that the firm expects production at some of its Lake Charles units to restart by the end of September and for full production to resume in early October.
"We are working to assist our employees and their families, many of whom have suffered damage to their homes and are without power," officials said in the release.
Sasol Ltd. operates almost 2 billion pounds of PE resin production in Lake Charles. Company officials in Johannesburg, South Africa, said Aug. 31 that operations recovery crews in Lake Charles had started damage assessment and that early reports indicated no apparent damage to process equipment and no flooding damage. They added that high winds caused damage to cooling towers in Lake Charles.
No restart date was provided by Sasol. Officials said that start-up of its plants will depend on the availability of electricity, industrial gases, other feedstocks and the restoration process. "We are engaging with our customers and suppliers regularly regarding the impacts on production," they said.
Officials added that Sasol "is supporting its employees in the impacted areas, assisting with temporary housing, transportation and basic amenities for those affected by the storm."