Resin makers on the Texas coast are facing challenges in restarting after frigid temperatures hit the state.
Beginning Feb. 14, cold weather hit Texas, including its Gulf Coast, where much U.S. resin production is located. Plants were closed in advance of the cold snap, but some operations may have been damaged as freezing temperatures caused pipes to expand.
As of Feb. 25, many commodity resin makers on the coast still were assessing their ability to restart production. Bitter cold across the state led to some power companies being unable to produce electricity from coal, natural gas and wind due to freezing temperatures and a lack winterizing for infrastructure.
ExxonMobil Chemical has begun to restart activities in Beaumont, Texas, and is preparing to restart operations at Baytown, a company spokesman told Plastics News. The firm "is working to re-establish normal operations and replenish fuel supplies as safely and quickly as possible following the extreme weather in Texas," he said. "Our primary focus continues to be the safety of employees, contractors and communities in the region."
ExxonMobil Chemical had closed those locations in advance of the cold weather. The firm makes polyethylene resin and ethylene feedstock at both sites, as well as polypropylene resin in Baytown and propylene feedstock in Beaumont.
Most production of resin and related materials was down as of Feb. 19, with several producers declaring force majeure or otherwise limiting sales through allocations. At peak shutdown, research firm ICIS of Houston estimated that almost 90 percent of U.S. PP resin production was offline. The firm also placed outages for linear low density PE at 54 percent, LDPE at 51 percent, high density PE at 42 percent and PVC at 16 percent.