Hurricane Harvey affects petchem facilities in the US


French chemical maker Arkema says that two explosions were heard and black smoke was seen coming from its plant in Crosby, Texas. Local officials had previously established an evacuation zone in an area 1.5 miles from its plant, based on their assessment of the situation. The firm says it continues to work closely with federal, state and local authorities to manage the situation.

It adds, "Unprecedented flooding overwhelmed our primary power and two sources of emergency backup power. As a result, we lost critical refrigeration of the products on site. Some of our organic peroxides products burn if not stored at low temperature. We have been working closely with public officials to manage the implications of this situation, and have communicated with the public the potential for product to explode and cause an intense fire. Organic peroxides are extremely flammable and, as agreed with public officials, the best course of action is to let the fire burn itself out. We want local residents to be aware that product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains. Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so."

Organic peroxides are a family of compounds that are used in a wide range of applications, such as making pharmaceuticals and construction materials.

Meanwhile, equipment maker Cloeren issued a statement that most of its South-East Texas Cloeren employees have either evacuated to safety or are trapped in their homes due to massive and on-going flooding. Cloeren;s headquarters is currently submerged in 1.3 m of standing water with no power. It expects power to be restored within the next 7-10 days.

PU maker Huntsman says its manufacturing plant in Port Neches, Texas, remains shut, while its Conroe site has resumed work.

It is still assessing the status of its remaining four Gulf Coast area manufacturing plants in Texas in Dayton, Chocolate Bayou, Freeport and Houston and adds that "production sites will restart as soon as weather permits and we are able to complete engineering safety checks to ensure orderly and safe start-ups."

Its manufacturing sites in Geismar, Louisiana, and Pensacola, Florida, continue to operate normally.

Huntsman's global headquarters and Advanced Technology Centre (HATC) in the Woodlands are open, but the company is advising all employees to avoid coming to work until it is safe to travel by road.


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