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Hurricane Laura Update - Petrochemicals
08/27/2020

Hurricane Laura slammed into Louisiana Wednesday night as a very strong category 4; the 150 mph sustained winds made it the largest storm to hit the US in a decade and tied the strongest (wind speed) ever recorded in Louisiana, matching a storm back in 1856. Thankfully, the human death toll was limited; however, there was extensive damage to homes and personal property and the recovery will be long.


While the storm veered away from Texas and spared most of the infrastructure, it did hit Lake Charles, LA and number of other regional petrochemical facilities. After first assessment, there appears to be no disastrous damage to facilities, but with power still down and flood waters still sitting, deeper assessments will be needed to better evaluate the situation.


Ahead of the storm, dozens of Petrochemical plants / Resin reactors in Texas and Louisiana were shut down as a precautionary measure, these included:

16 NGL Crackers with a daily capacity of 95 million lbs,

5 HDPE reactors with a daily capacity of 12.9 million lbs,

4 LDPE reactors with a daily capacity of 6.3 million lbs,

5 LLDPE reactors with a daily capacity of 10 million lbs,

5 PP reactors with a daily capacity of 20 million lbs.


Some facilities in Texas, where the storm avoided, have already begun to restart. If no major damage is found in the rest of the facilities, others will begin to restart in the next days / week or so.


Not to minimize the challenges to those affected, it seems that much of the preparation paid off and the net loss to the Petrochemical industry could be somewhat limited to lost production and associated costs throughout the supply chain.


-The Plastics Exchange


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