USA: Hardly any damage to petrochemical plants after cold snap

The strong effects of the onset of winter in December were limited to the north and central US (Image: National Weather Service)

The cold snap that swept across the United States with the winter storm Elliott between December 21 and 26, 2022 has not had nearly the dramatic impact on the nation’s petrochemicals that Uri caused nearly two years ago. However, this was mainly due to the fact that the two main states of Texas and Louisiana were largely spared from the cold. Cold and snowfall were concentrated in the center and north, where temperatures of -45 °C, snowdrifts several meters high and around 30 deaths in total were reported.

Some plants along the Gulf of Mexico are currently still shut down, here and there there have been unplanned outages or even force majeures, but these lines can be counted on the fingers. The vast majority of companies like Braskem, Chevron Phillips and ExxonMobil had taken precautions and shut down and winterized plants as a precaution. Almost all of them are currently being started up again or are already running again.

In the winter of 2020/21, on the other hand, so many systems were damaged that it sometimes took more than a year to complete all repairs due to a lack of spare parts and workers.

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