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Business

Chemical producers in the Carolinas and Virginia restart operations after weathering Hurricane Florence

Rising floodwaters remain a concern for communities

by Rick Mullin
September 21, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 38

 

Update:

This story was originally published on Sept. 18 and was revised on Sept. 21 to incorporate current information about the companies’ operations.

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Credit: Shutterstock
Although Hurricane Florence flooded coastal areas, including Wilmington, N.C., shown, chemical manufacturing plants in the Carolinas and Virginia report they are unscathed and resuming operations.

Chemical manufacturing operations on the U.S. Southeast coast reported no serious damage after Hurricane Florence, though flooding remained a concern through last week.

Routine storm response involved planned facility shutdowns before the storm hit the Carolinas and Virginia Sept. 14.

Chemours said its Fayetteville, N.C., facility experienced no serious wind- or water-related damage as a result of the storm. Given the elevation of the plant, the company was not concerned about damage to operations from flooding, which continued through the week after the storm.

The site began restarting operations Sept. 17, with all but one unit running as of Sept. 20, according to Chemours communications manager Lisa Randall. As of C&EN deadline, the company expected to have the last unit running on Sept. 21 after non-storm-related maintenance.

“Our greatest concern continues to be flooding occurring within the community and its impact on our employees and neighbors,” she told C&EN on Sept. 20.

BASF’s plants in Virginia and the Carolinas came through the storm unscathed and have resumed normal operations, according to Bob Nelson, senior manager of corporate communications.

In Leland, N.C., a plant operated by Aprinnova—a joint venture between flavor and fragrance specialist Amyris and Nikkol Group, a Japanese chemical holding group—lost power in a regional outage after being shut down before the storm. Power was restored as of Sept. 20 as operators prepared to restart the facility. Initial assessment of the plant indicated it sustained no significant material damage, Amyris said in a statement.

“Our employees’ safety is of the utmost importance and we took precautionary measures to shut the plant down ahead of the storm, so they could be home to ensure their safety and that of their families,” Amyris CEO John Melo said.

The company said it expects to resume full production of squalene, a skin care additive, without any impact to its third-quarter or full-year results for the product.

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