The Urethane Blog

Hurricane IDA Update

Ida makes US landfall in Louisiana as powerful Category 4 hurricane

Author: Al Greenwood

2021/08/29

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday in Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, and meteorologists expect the storm will continue north, following the state’s chemical corridor.

Many companies have already shut down plants in anticipation to the storm. These plants make many plastics and chemicals that are in short supply and at record prices. If they stay idled long enough, the shutdowns will further tighten markets.

STORM
Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon in Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 miles/hour (241 km/hour), making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson storm scale.

Ida is moving northwest at 13 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The following map shows the path of the storm.

Source: National Hurricane Center

PLANT SHUTDOWNS
Dow shut down its operations in Louisiana at its St Charles site in Taft and its Plaquemine site. Both sites have crackers and plants that make polyethylene (PE).

The St Charles site also makes acetic acid, acrylic acid, ethylene oxide (EO), glycol ethers and surfactants, among other chemicals.

The Plaquemine site also produces benzene, toluene, EO, glycol ethers, propylene glycol (PG) and propylene oxide (PO), among other chemicals.

At Baton Rouge, ExxonMobil is adjusting its rates and shutting down some units at its complex.

The ExxonMobil site has a refinery and a chemical complex that makes ethylene, propylene, butadiene (BD), PE, polypropylene (PP), phthalic anhydride (PA), plasticizers, benzene, toluene, isopropanol (IPA), base oils and various other chemicals.

BASF plans to idle its Geismar plants by Sunday. It makes butanediol (BDO), EO, methylene diphenyl diisocycanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyether polyols.

Phillips 66 shut down its Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. In addition to fuel, the refinery makes benzene, mixed xylenes (MX) toluene and propylene.

Shell shut down its plants in Geismar and Norco.

Geismar makes linear alpha olefins (LAO), ethylene glycol (EG), EO and glycol ethers.

Norco makes ethylene, propylene and BD.

Cornerstone is shutting down its acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine plants in Louisiana.

It is the sole melamine plant in the US. The material is used to make laminates such as Formica.

The products made at many of these plants are already in short supply and the shutdowns could aggravate availability.

The ICIS assessment for US polymeric MDI is at a record high, reflecting the tightness in the market.

Likewise, ICIS has assessed North American BDO contracts and US melamine contracts at record highs before the hurricane.

ICIS recently assessed US contract prices for propylene at a double-digit increases.

Other plants could shut down as Ida moves inland.

The eastern part of Louisiana hit by Ida has a heavy concentration of plants that make polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a plastic used to make pipes as well as siding and profiles used in house construction.

US contract prices for PVC had already hit records before Hurricane Ida.

PVC is made with chlorine, and eastern Louisiana has several plants that make the chemical, along with caustic soda, a by-product of these units.

OIL SHUT-INS
As of Saturday afternoon, oil and gas operators have evacuated 279 platforms, nearly 50% in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Producers have shut in nearly 91% of oil production and nearly 85% of gas production.

POWER OUTAGES
So far, more than 110,000 power outages have been reported to utility companies as of Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.US.

Power outages can shut down operations at chemical plants and delay their restart.

PORT RESTRICTIONS, SHUTDOWNS
Ports threatened by Hurricane Ida have either restricted operations or shut them down.

The following table shows the status of several ports.  X-Ray is when tropical storms or hurricane-force storm is predicted to make landfall within 48 hours, Yankee within 24 hours and Zulu within 12.

PortStatusCondition
New Orleans, LouisianaClosedZulu
Plaquemines, LouisianaClosedZulu
South Louisiana, LouisianaClosedZulu
St Bernard, LouisianaClosedZulu
Baton Rouge, LouisianaClosedZulu
Pascagoula, MississippiClosedZulu
Biloxi, MississippiClosedZulu
Gulfport, MississippiClosedZulu
Mobile, AlabamaOpen with RestrictionsYankee
Pensacola, FloridaOpen with RestrictionsX-Ray
Panama City, FloridaOpen with RestrictionsX-Ray

RAIL UPDATE
The New Orleans Flood Protection Authority was scheduled to close by Saturday afternoon, which would disrupt all eastward and westward rail routes going through New Orleans, including interchange routes on other carriers.

BNSF was scheduled to suspend all rail operations between Lafayette, Louisiana, and New Orleans at 1200 local time on Saturday.

Norfolk Southern said its operations would be disrupted when the authority shuts down the final flood gate on Saturday at 1400 local time. Shipments destined to New Orleans will be affected for about 48 hours, Norfolk Southern said on Friday.

Union Pacific was scheduled to suspend operations at its intermodal terminal in Avondale, Louisiana at 1600 local time on Friday.

Kansas City Southern and CSX both said on Friday that they are taking steps to prepare for Ida. They did not announce any suspensions.

POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGE
Ida’s size, strength and path could cause billions of dollars worth of damage.

The property data firm CoreLogic estimated on Friday that Ida’s storm surge is threatening 941,392 homes. If all of these homes were destroyed and replaced, CoreLogic estimates that the cost would be $220.37bn.

The reconstruction cost value represents a worst-case scenario, CoreLogic said. For reference, the firm estimated in 2020 that Hurricane Laura may have caused $8bn-12bn in insurable losses.

Home repairs, remodelling and construction make up an important end market for several chemicals and polymers.

The white pigment titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in paints.

Solvents used in paints and coatings include butyl acetate (butac), butyl acrylate (butyl-A), ethyl acetate (etac), glycol ethers, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and isopropnaol (IPA).

Blends of aliphatic and aromatic solvents are also used to make paints and coatings.

For polymers, expandable polystyrene (EPS) and polyurethane (PUR) foam are used in insulation.

Polyurethanes are made of MDI, TDI and polyols.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in pipe. PVC is used to make cladding, window frames, wires and cables, flooring and roofing membranes.

Unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) are used to make coatings and composites.

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is used to make paints and adhesives.

Additional reporting by Adam Burkin, Tracy Dang, Michael Sims, Antoinette Smith and Alex Snodgrass

Thumbnail image shows path of Ida. Source: National Hurricane Center

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday in Louisiana as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, and meteorologists expect the storm will continue north, following the state’s chemical corridor.

Many companies have already shut down plants in anticipation to the storm. These plants make many plastics and chemicals that are in short supply and at record prices. If they stay idled long enough, the shutdowns will further tighten markets.

STORM

Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon in Louisiana with maximum sustained wind speeds of 150 miles/hour (241 km/hour), making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson storm scale.

Ida is moving northwest at 13 miles/hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The following map shows the path of the storm.

Source: National Hurricane Center

PLANT SHUTDOWNS

Dow shut down its operations in Louisiana at its St Charles site in Taft and its Plaquemine site. Both sites have plants that make polyethylene (PE).

The St Charles site also makes acetic acid, acrylic acid, ethylene oxide (EO), glycol ethers, surfactants, among other chemicals.

The Plaquemine site also produces benzene, toluene, EO, glycol ethers, propylene glycol (PG), propylene oxide (PO), among other chemicals. Plaquemine also has a cracker.

At Baton Rouge, ExxonMobil is adjusting its rates and shutting down some units at its complex.

The ExxonMobil site has a refinery and a chemical complex that makes ethylene, propylene, butadiene (BD), PE, polypropylene (PP), phthalic anhydride (PA), plasticizers, benzene, toluene, isopropanol (IPA), base oils and various other chemicals.

BASF plans to idle its Geismar plants by Sunday. It makes butanediol (BDO), EO, methylene diphenyl diisocycanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyether polyols.

Phillips 66 shut down its Alliance refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. In addition to fuel, the refinery makes benzene, mixed xylenes (MX) toluene and propylene.

Shell shut down its plants in Geismar and Norco.

Geismar makes linear alpha olefins (LAO), ethylene glycol (EG) EO and glycol ethers.

Norco makes ethylene, propylene and BD.

Cornerstone is shutting down its acrylonitrile (ACN) and melamine plants in Louisiana.

It is the sole melamine plant in the US. The material is used to make laminates such as Formica.

The products made at many of these plants are already in short supply and the shutdowns could aggravate availability.

The ICIS assessment for US polymeric MDI is at a record high, reflecting the tightness in the market.

Likewise, ICIS has assessed North American BDO contracts and US melamine contracts at record highs before the hurricane.

ICIS recently assessed US contract prices for propylene at a double-digit increase.

OIL SHUT-INS

As of Saturday afternoon, oil and gas operators have evacuated 279 platforms, nearly 50% in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Producers have shut in nearly 91% of oil production and nearly 85% of gas production.

POWER OUTAGES

So far, more than 110,000 power outages have been reported to utility companies as of Sunday afternoon, according to PowerOutage.US.

Power outages can shut down operations at chemical plants and delay their restart.

PORT RESTRICTIONS, SHUTDOWNS
Ports threatened by Hurricane Ida have either restricted operations or shut them down.

The following table shows the status of several ports.  X-Ray is when tropical or hurricane force storm is predicted to make landfall within 48 hours, Yankee within 24 and Zulu within 12.

PortStatusCondition
New Orleans, LAClosedZulu
Plaquemines, LAClosedZulu
South Louisiana, LAClosedZulu
St Bernard, LAClosedZulu
Baton Rouge, LAClosedZulu
Pascagoula, MSClosedZulu
Biloxi, MSClosedZulu
Gulfport, MSClosedZulu
Mobile, ALOpen with RestrictionsYankee
Pensacola, FLOpen with RestrictionsX-Ray
Panama City, FLOpen with RestrictionsX-Ray

RAIL UPDATE

The New Orleans Flood Protection Authority was scheduled to close by Saturday afternoon, which would disrupt all eastward and westward rail routes going through New Orleans, including interchange routes on other carriers.

BNSF was scheduled to suspend all rail operations between Lafayette, Louisiana, and New Orleans at 1200 local time on Saturday.

Norfolk Southern said its operations would be disrupted when the authority shuts down the final flood gate at 1400 local time. Shipments destined to New Orleans will be affected for about 48 hours, Norfolk Southern said on Friday.

Union Pacific was scheduled to suspend operations at its intermodal terminal in Avondale, Louisiana at 1600 local time on Friday.

Kansas City Southern and CSX both said on Friday that they are taking steps to prepare for Ida. They did not announce any suspensions.

POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGE

Ida’s size, strength and path could cause billions of dollars worth of damage.

The property data firm CoreLogic estimated on Friday that Ida’s storm surge is threatening 941,392 homes. If all of these homes were destroyed and replaced, CoreLogic estimates that the cost would be $220.37bn.

The reconstruction cost value represents a worst-case scenario, CoreLogic said. For reference, the firm estimated in 2020 that Hurricane Laura may have caused $8bn-12bn in insurable losses.

Home repairs, remodelling and construction make up an important end market for several chemicals and polymers.

The white pigment titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in paints.

Solvents used in paints and coatings include butyl acetate (butac), butyl acrylate (butyl-A), ethyl acetate (etac), glycol ethers, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and isopropnaol (IPA).

Blends of aliphatic and aromatic solvents are also used to make paints and coatings.

For polymers, expandable polystyrene (EPS) and polyurethane (PUR) foam are used in insulation.

Polyurethanes are made of methylene diphenyl diisocycanate (MDI), toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and polyols.

High density polyethylene (HDPE) is used in pipe. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to make cladding, window frames, wires and cables, flooring and roofing membranes.

Unsaturated polyester resins (UPR) are used to make coatings and composites.

Vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) is used to make paints and adhesives.

Additional reporting by Adam Burkin, Tracy Dang, Michael Sims, Antoinette Smith and Alex Snodgrass

Thumbnail image shows path of Ida. Source: National Hurricane Center

https://www.icis.com/explore/resources/news/2021/08/29/10679472/ida-makes-us-landfall-in-louisiana-as-powerful-category-4-hurricane