Urethane Blog

Power Grid is the Issue Post Ida

August 31, 2021

Hardest-hit areas in Louisiana could be without power for weeks – Entergy

Author: Adam Yanelli


HOUSTON (ICIS)–Power outages continue to exist for about 840,000 customers across the state of Louisiana and parts of Mississippi after Hurricane Ida made landfall on Sunday. The main power distributor in the state said the hardest-hit areas could experience outages “for weeks”.

Entergy – the main power distributor for the state of Louisiana – is still assessing the damage, which included damage to major transmission lines that deliver power to numerous Louisiana parishes, which remain out of service.

The number of outages has dropped slightly from Monday.

“The worst damage seen so far is in the south, southeast, Baton Rouge and New Orleans metro regions, with significant flooding reported in the southeast region,” the company said in an update around mid-day on Tuesday.

“Because of the extent of damage and rebuilding required, we expect recovery to be difficult and challenging, and customers in the hardest-hit areas should expect extended power outages lasting for weeks,” the company said.

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

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

The following table shows chemical plants and refineries in the region that have shut down.

NOVAGeismar, LouisianaEthylene, propyleneShutdown
Pinnacle PolymersGaryville, LouisianaPPFM
CornerstoneWaggaman, LouisianaACN, melamineFM
ShintechAddis, LouisianaEthylene, chlorine, caustic soda, EDC, VCM, PVCShutdown
ShintechPlaquemine, LouisianaEthylene, chlorine, caustic soda, EDC, VCM, PVCShutdown
RubiconGeismar, LouisianaMDI, polyether polyols, aniline, nitrobenzeneShutdown
ExxonMobilBaton Rouge, LouisianaGasoline, refinery-grade propylene (RGP), benzene, tolueneShutdown
Marathon PetroleumGaryville, LouisianaGasoline, refined productsShutdown
OlinPlaquemine, LouisianaCaustic soda, chlorineShutdown
OlinSt Gabriel, LouisianaCaustic soda, chlorineShutdown
ValeroMeraux, LouisianaGasoline, refined products, propylene, propylene upgradeShutdown
ValeroSt Charles, LouisianaGasoline, refined products, propylene, propylene upgradeShutdown
DowTaft, LouisianaOxo-alcohols (IBA, NBA)Shutdown
Phillips 66Belle Chasse, LouisianaRefined products, aromatics, propyleneShutdown
Formosa PlasticsBaton Rouge, LouisianaPVC, VCMShutdown
ExxonMobilBaton Rouge, LouisianaOlefins, aromatics, IPA, polyolefins, base oilsShutdown
WestlakeGeismar, LouisianaCaustic soda, EDC, PVC, VCMShutdown
WestlakePlaquemine, LouisianaCaustic soda, EDC, PVC, VCMShutdown
DowTaft, LouisianaOlefins, acetic acid, acrylic acid, acrylic acid esters, ethanolamines, EO, glycol ethers, LLDPE, oxo-alcoholsShutdown
DowPlaquemine, LouisianaOlefins, aromatics, EO, glycol ethers, LDPE, LLDPE, PG, POShutdown
BASFGeismar, LouisianaBDO, EO, MDI, TDI, polyolsShutdown
Phillips 66Belle Chasse, LouisianaRefined products, aromatics, propyleneShutdown
ShellNorco, LouisianaOlefinsShutdown
ShellGeismar, LouisianaLAO, EG, EO, linear alcohols, glycol ethersShutdown
CornerstoneWaggaman, LouisianaACN, melamineShutdown

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

In the US fertilizer markets, CF Industries confirmed late Monday that the initial assessment of its Louisiana Donaldsonville Complex did not present significant damage from Hurricane Ida and production will resume as soon as possible.

The company shut down all production on 28 August, as the category 4 storm neared landfall. The complex includes six ammonia plants, five urea plants, four nitric acid plants and three urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) plants.

The New Orleans Flood Protection Authority has closed the area’s floodgates, which will disrupt all eastward and westward rail routes going through New Orleans, including interchange routes on other carriers.

On Monday, Norfolk Southern said the intermodal terminal in New Orleans will remain closed through Tuesday. Customers with shipments destined to hurricane areas or through them should expect delays of 48-72 hours.

On Monday, BNSF said its main line between Lafayette, Louisiana, and New Orleans remains out of service and it does not know when it could reopen.

BNSF said interchange with other carriers in New Orleans remains suspended, with an embargo in effect for all traffic destined to enter and leave the city.

Kansas City Southern has suspended rail operations on a portion of its line because of excessive rain and wind caused by Hurricane Ida, the company said on Monday.

Mainline operations and interchanges from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in Louisiana have been suspended, as well as Gulfport/Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Kansas City Southern said.

The company cannot conduct maintenance until water has receded.

Once the line has reopened, customers expect delays until Kansas City Southern works through backlogs and until it can resume normal speeds in the areas hit by Hurricane Ida.

On Monday, Union Pacific said engineering crews have started to inspect railroad tracks to assess any storm damage. Because the floodgates are closed, there is no interchange to eastern carriers, so Union Pacific is continuing to review options for rerouting traffic.

Union Pacific had suspended operations at its intermodal terminal in Avondale, Louisiana.

On Friday, CSX said it was taking steps to prepare for Hurricane Ida. It did not announce any suspensions.

In the US, chemical railcar loadings represent about 20% of chemical transportation by tonnage, with trucks, barges and pipelines carrying the rest.

A Coast Guard spokesperson said the department is still in the early stages of assessing the navigability of the waterway, but that no blockages had been reported as of Tuesday morning.

Nearly all US oil and natural gas production has been shut in because of Hurricane Ida, the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Monday. The data is updated daily around mid-day.

Producers have shut in nearly 96% of oil production and nearly 94% of gas production.

Ports threatened by Hurricane Ida have either restricted operations or shut them down.

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

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) has paused deliveries of crude until Hurricane Ida subsides, it said on Sunday.

The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port is the nation’s only deepwater oil port for supertankers. Some 50% of the nation’s refining capacity can be supplied by LOOP, which moves 12% of the nation’s annual crude oil imports.

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 isopropanol (IPA).

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

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

Polyurethanes are made of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (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 Al Greenwood, Annalise Porter, Janet Miranda