The Urethane Blog

Gulf Coast Update

Post-freeze US petrochemical restarts progressing

Houston — Most US Gulf Coast petrochemical plants that were shut when sustained sub-freezing temperatures hit the region in mid-February have resumed operations or expect to restart by the end of March.

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Restarts have been gradual and operating rates remained reduced as producers have continually checked for any leaks in miles of pipe that was exposed to frigid cold for more than 72 hours. The industry remained focused on bringing crackers back online to produce ethylene needed to feed downstream plants that produce plastic resins and other products.

Numerous force majeures declared the week of Feb. 15 remained in effect as producers sought to clear backlogs of contract orders.

LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel said at an energy conference March 16 that US resin supply could take the rest of 2021 to catch up to demand after weather-related setbacks in 2020 and the February freeze, particularly as already strong demand grows alongside economic recovery boosted by COVID-19 vaccinations becoming more available worldwide.

“As vaccines are rolled out, the year-over-year demand growth and the additional recovery-related growth in demand is still in front of us,” he said. “And supply is going to have to catch up all year long to meet this level of demand that we expect this year.”

Here is a rundown of fallout from the freeze:

FORCE MAJEURES

**Dow Chemical: Declared Feb. 19, on 2-ethylhexanol and butanol products from its Texas City, Texas complex

**Formosa Plastics USA: Declared Feb. 19 on US polyethylene

**BASF: Declared Feb. 19 on dioctyl terephthalate (DOTP), a plasticizer, at its Pasadena, Texas, site

**Westlake Chemical: Declared Feb. 19 on US caustic soda, chlorine, PVC and VCM; company has 2.9 million mt/year of US caustic soda capacity, more than 2 million mt/year of PVC capacity, 2.6 million mt/year of VCM; more than 2.26 million mt/year of chlorine capacity at five affected sites

**Formosa Plastics USA: Declared Feb. 18 on US PVC, 1.3 million mt/year of capacity at Point Comfort, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, complexes.

**Dow Chemical: Declared Feb. 18 on multiple intermediate chemicals produced at plants in Deer Park, Freeport, Texas City and Bayport Texas, Hahnville, Louisiana, and Louisville, Kentucky; declaration includes vinyl acetate monomer (VAM), methyl methacrylate (MMA), glacial methacrylic acid (GMAA), butyl methacrylate (BMA), glycidyl methacrylate (GMA), 2-ethylhexyl Acrylate (2EHA), butyl acrylate (BA), and others; Dow informed South American customers

**Celanese: Declared force majeure Feb. 18 on multiple intermediate chemicals normally sold to customers in the US, Europe and the Middle East, including acetic acid, VAM, ethyl acetate and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)

**Total: Declared Feb. 17 on polypropylene produced at its 1.15 million mt/year La Porte, Texas, facility

**Formosa Plastics USA: Declared Feb. 17 on all chlor-alkali products

**LyondellBasell: Declared Feb. 16 on styrene monomer

**Vestolit: Declared Feb. 16 on PVC produced at its Colombia and Mexico plants on lack of upstream vinyl chloride monomer feedstock from US suppliers; plants have a combined 1.8 million mt/year of capacity

**Olin: Declared Feb. 16 on US chlorine, caustic soda, ethylene dichloride, epoxy, hydrochloric acid and other products produced at its Freeport, Texas, complex; ; on Feb. 18 Olin expanded the declaration in a separate letter to customers to include products made system-wide

**MEGlobal: Declared Feb. 15 on MEG produced at its Freeport, Texas, site

**LyondellBasell: Declared Feb. 15 on US polyethylene

**Flint Hills Resources: Declared Feb. 15 on polypropylene produced at Longview, Texas

**OxyChem: Declared Feb. 15 on US chlorine, caustic soda, EDC, vinyl chloride monomer and polyvinyl chloride.

**LyondellBasell: Declared Feb. 15 on US polypropylene

**INEOS Olefins and Polymers USA: Declared Feb. 15 on polypropylene

**OQ Chemicals: Declared Feb. 15 on US oxo-alcohols, aldehydes, acids and esters produced at its Bat City, Texas, operations

SHUTDOWNS

**Shell: two crackers with a combined 961,000 mt/year of capacity, Deer Park, Texas

**Nan Ya Plastics: cumulative 1.17 million mt/year of monoethylene glycol, Point Comfort, Texas

**CP Chem: 998,000 mt/year HDPE, Pasadena, Texas

**TPC Group: Houston site, including 544,310 mt/year butadiene unit

**CP Chem: three crackers with a combined capacity of 1.36 million mt/year of capacity, Sweeny, Texas

**INEOS: 1.89 million mt/year of ethylene capacity, Chocolate Bayou, Texas

**LyondellBasell: 1.134 million mt/year cracker, Corpus Christi, Texas

**Dow Chemical: 827,000 mt/year cracker, Orange, Texas

**Indorama Ventures: 435,000 mt/year EO, 358,000 mt/year MEG, Clear Lake, Texas

**LyondellBasell: 265,000 mt/year MEG, Bayport, Texas

RESTARTS

**Dow Chemical: Three crackers with a cumulative capacity of 3.68 million mt/year of capacity and two LDPE units with 552,000 mt/year and 186,000 mt/year HDPE, Freeport, Texas; 490,000 mt/year LLDPE and 390,000 mt/year HDPE, Seadrift, Texas

**Formosa Plastics USA, Point Comfort, Texas: 1.2 million mt/year cracker; 875,000 mt/year HDPE; 400,000 mt/year of LDPE; 465,000 mt/year of LLDPE; 798,000 mt/year of PVC; 1 million mt/year of caustic soda and 910,000 mt/year of chlorine; 753,000 mt/year of VCM; 1.478 million mt/year of EDC; two PP units with combined capacity of 1.7 million mt/year

**Westlake Chemical: 331,763 mt/year cracker, 249,475 mt/year chlorine, 274,423 mt/year caustic soda, 680,388 mt/year vinyl chloride monomer, 680,388 mt/year polyvinyl chloride, Calvert City, Kentucky

**Eastman Chemical: 730,000 mt/year ethylene capacity, Longview, Texas

**LyondellBasell: 3 million mt/year of ethylene capacity in Channelview and La Porte, Texas

**CP Chem: Two crackers with cumulative 2.53 million mt/year capacity, Cedar Bayou, Texas

**Lotte Chemical: 700,000 mt/year MEG, 1 million mt/year joint-venture cracker, Lake Charles, Louisiana

**Olin: Freeport, Texas complex, with 3 million mt/year of caustic soda and 2.73 million mt/year of chlorine capacity; 748,000 mt/year of EDC

**OxyChem: 544,000 mt/year cracker; 248,000 mt/year chlor-alkali; 680,000 mt/year EDC, Ingleside, Texas; Deer Park and Pasadena, Texas, 1.27 million mt in PVC capacity, Deer Park and Pasadena, Texas; 1.79 million mt/year of VCM, 580,000 mt/year chlor-alkali, La Porte, Texas

**Shintech: Freeport, Texas: 1.45 million mt/year PVC; one of three PVC lines shut down week of March 15 for a planned turnaround

**Indorama Ventures: 235,867 mt/year cracker; 1 million mt/year ethylene oxide/MEG unit, 238,135 mt/year propylene oxide unit, and 988,000 mt/year of MTBE capacity, Port Neches, Texas

**Westlake Chemical, 632,000 mt/year cracker, Lake Charles, Louisiana

**MEGlobal: 750,000 mt/year monoethylene glycol (MEG) plant, Freeport, Texas

**Nan Ya Plastics, two MEG units with a cumulative 1.17 million mt/year capacity, Point Comfort, Texas

**Dow Chemical: 300,000 mt/year MEG, Seadrift, Texas

**Indorama Ventures: 300,000 mt/year MEG, Clear Lake, Texas

**CP Chem, two crackers with a combined 1.9 million mt/year of capacity, Cedar Bayou, Texas

**CP Chem, 853,000 mt/year cracker, Port Arthur, Texas

**Braskem: 360,000 mt/year PP Freeport, Texas; 450,000 mt/year PP, La Porte, Texas

**Motiva Chemicals: 635,000 mt/year mixed-feed cracker, Port Arthur, Texas

**Shell: Norco, Louisiana, restarted two crackers with a combined 1.4 million mt/year of capacity

**Baystar Polymers: 408,000 mt/year HDPE unit at Bayport, Texas

**Flint Hills Resources: 658,000 mt/year PDH unit, Houston

**Dow Chemical: 750,000 PDH, Freeport, Texas

**ExxonMobil: Beaumont, Texas; 826,000 mt/year cracker; 225,000 mt/year HDPE; 240,000 mt/year LDPE; 1.19 million mt/year LLDPE with some HDPE capacity

**ExxonMobil: Baytown, Texas; three crackers with a combined capacity of 3.8 million mt/year; 800,000 mt/year PP

**Sasol: 380,000 mt/year EO/MEG, Lake Charles, Louisiana

**Formosa Plastics USA: 513,000 mt/year PVC, 653,000 mt/year VCM, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

**LyondellBasell: Lake Charles, Louisiana, joint-venture 470,000 mt/year LLDPE; 420,000 mt/year LDPE

PRICES

**The FD Mont Belvieu spot ethylene price has risen 53% since Feb. 12 to 55.50 cents/lb on March 19, while the FD Choctaw marker has risen 61% in that span to 58 cents/lb

**Spot polymer-grade propylene prices rose 27% from Feb. 12 to an all-time high of $1.24.75/lb FD USG when all three US PDH plants were shut – two on the freeze, one for a turnaround – but have since declined 32% to 84 cents/lb FD USG on March 19.

**US export PVC prices reached a fresh all-time high of $1,700/mt March 17 on deals done amid tight post-freeze supply and turnarounds.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/petrochemicals/031921-factbox-post-freeze-us-petrochemical-restarts-progressing