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Category 4 Hurricane Possible as Ida Heads Towards US Gulf

US Petrochemical and Polymer producers are keeping close watch along the Louisiana/Mississippi Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Ida approaches with forecasts for it to become a major hurricane before it makes landfall by this Sunday.

Weather forecasts have Ida reaching major hurricane strength before it reaches the US, possibly becoming a Category 4 hurricane, which can reach sustained winds of about 130-136 mph.

Ida is the first major weather system of 2021 to directly pose a threat to the US Gulf Coast refining and petrochemical infrastructure. In 2020, Louisiana was hit by Hurricane Laura in late August, followed by Hurricane Delta and Zeta in October, which together devastated petrochemical and polymer production.

Resin producers shut down units in 2020 at the following locations due to Laura, Delta and Zeta, which are also near or within the current projected path of what is expected to be Hurricane Ida this weekend:

Sasol at Lake Charles, LA

Westlake at Lake Charles, LA

Dow at Orange, TX

Chevron Phillips at Orange, TX

LyondellBasell at Lake Charles, LA

ExxonMobil at Beaumont, TX

No major resin producers have shuttered production ahead of Ida, but all have hurricane and tornado plans with specific actions to be taken in advance of a hurricane or threat of severe weather, which may lead to certain units being shut as a precautionary step.

By Brian Balboa for The Plastics Exchange.

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