USA: Plants in Texas closed as a precaution due to the onset of winter

Frost and snow are expected for Texas around Christmas (Photo: PantherMedia/AndreaWilhelm)

An arctic freeze is moving south from Siberia across Alaska and the central US states. Even far south Texas, the US National Weather Service warns, will be hit by falling temperatures before Christmas. 20 degrees Fahrenheit, i.e. about -7 degrees Celsius, should initially be reached, with wind speeds of more than 60 km/h. Later, according to the forecasts, down to -15 °C would also be possible. Both of these things don’t sound too dramatic by northern European standards, but Texans and their infrastructure are at best used to single-digit plus temperatures.

There are now fears of renewed widespread failures such as in winter 2020/21, when snowstorm “Uri” paralyzed 80 percent of oil production, as well as large parts of the petrochemical industry and the power supply. Some producers from the plastics line have already prepared their systems for the falling temperatures. This includes Brazil’s Braskem, which has winterized and possibly shut down all four Texas polypropylene generations. Similar measures have been taken by American Acryl, Sasol and Indorama. The latter have shut down the entire production of ethylene derivatives in Clear Lake, as was learned from company circles. When asked, BASF also confirmed corresponding preparations, but has not yet shut down any plants.

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