Resin plants near the U.S. Gulf Coast shut down production on Aug. 29 as Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm south of New Orleans.
Major chemical suppliers had been monitoring the fast-moving storm since it began moving through the Gulf of Mexico, and took precautions as it neared production sites in Louisiana and Mississippi.
"Dow sites on the U.S. Gulf Coast have comprehensive and well-defined hurricane preparedness plans that are designed to minimize production interruptions, while protecting the safety and health of our employees, our communities and our environment," Midland, Mich.-based Dow Inc. said in an Aug. 29 statement. "The company remains in close contact with its stakeholders as this situation continues to evolve. Our thoughts are with those in the projected path of the storm."
ExxonMobil said its refinery and chemical complexes at sites in Texas — Baytown and Beaumont — were operating as normal.
"ExxonMobil's Baton Rouge facilities are adjusting operations and shutting down some units and equipment to ensure safe and stable operations during the hurricane," the company said.
Consulting firm ICIS said the Baton Rouge site makes ethylene, propylene, butadiene (BD), polyethylene, polypropylene and other materials.
ICIS also warned in an Aug. 29 report that Eastern Louisiana has a heavy concentration of plants that make PVC. Vinyl was already selling for "record" prices prior to the storm. Prior to landfall, ICIS reported that plants in the storm's path were responsible for 35 percent of the styrene production in the U.S.
Supplies for most materials were interrupted by two hurricanes in 2020 that hit the Lake Charles, La., area — Laura and Delta — and an ice storm in Texas in February that interrupted production.