The Urethane Blog

Gulf Coast Update

US Gulf Coast ice storms cause chems production freeze

Author: Tom Brown


LONDON (ICIS)–An almost unprecedented polar storm sweeping across the US Gulf Coast states has led to shutdowns and production cuts at a swathe of petrochemicals plants and refineries in the area, as well as throttling transport and leaving millions without power.

Temperatures in the Houston petrochemicals hub remained at -8 degrees Celsius (17 degrees Fahrenheit) on Tuesday morning local time, some of the coldest conditions on records on the region.

Freezing conditions have been recorded across much of the central US.

With petrochemicals complexes in Texas and Louisiana more set up for intense heat through much of the year rather than sub-zero conditions, players across the region have moved to limit or shut down production entirely.

On 15 February news emerged of Motiva, Marathon and CITGO announcing refinery shutdowns, while Total shut off its coker and crude distillation units at Port Arthur.

LyondellBasell reported operating its Houston refinery and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) complex at minimum rates due to the weather, while TPC has shut down its Houston butadiene unit due to steam loss.

OQ Chem declared force majeure at its Bay City, Texas, complex due to the weather on Tuesday.