Harvey's Chem Hit
Words: Florian Saylor
Hurricane Harvey's widespread destruction also takes aim at the US chemical industry. Explosions broke out early Thursday morning at the Arkema plant in northeastern Houston. Arkema is a leading US supplier of methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP) which is used for curing polyester resins. The plant lost power, and its emergency generators failed, due to the severe flooding. This, in turn, caused multiple explosions as the plant lost its ability to safely store the chemicals at the required temperatures. This disaster at the Arkema plant has created a ripple effect in the industry and near-term prices are expected to increase 10% as MEKP will now need to be sourced from the few other manufacturers such as United Initiators and AkzoNobel.
Meanwhile, supply chain logistics continue to be a problem for the area as a result of the torrential rain and flooding. The broader shipping industry faces challenges as many road and railroad tracks throughout the region remain under water. This has resulted in an interruption of the raw materials needed for the manufacturing of resins, and suppliers are now anticipating price increases which we hope to be only temporary.
These economic effects pale in comparison to those who have lost their homes or loved ones in this tremendous disaster. Our hearts go out to them in their time of need.