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Hurricane Isaac to Have Minimal Effect on Carbon Black Supplies

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana at 6:45 PM (CDT) and then moved back over water for several hours until it came ashore again at 2:15 AM near Port Fourchon, LA. The storm is weakening as it moves overland, and by late afternoon on Wednesday it had been downgraded from a Category 1 Hurricane to a Tropical Storm.

The storm caused the temporary shutdown of five carbon black plants in the Gulf Coast with a combined capacity of 781 KTPY of capacity, or 46% of total US capacity. However, the shutdowns were short in duration (averaging about 48 hours) and the storm is expected to have only a minimal impact on supplies. Suppliers have indicated that they had plenty of advanced warning to build up inventories.

Here is an update on the status of the affected plants.

Cabot – Canal Plant at Franklin, LA: Plant was idled on Tuesday and is expected to restart on Thursday.

Cabot – Ville Platte, LA: Plant was ‘idled hot’ (i.e., it is not producing but the reactors were not fully shut down) on Tuesday and is expected to restart late Wednesday or Thursday.

Columbian Chemicals – Franklin, LA: Shutdown as of mid-day Tuesday. Plant expected to restart by Friday or possibly sooner. Plant has sufficient inventory on hand ot maintain supplies without disruption.

Orion Engineered Carbons – Ivanhoe, LA: Shutdown as of Tuesday. Expected restart on Thursday.

Orion Engineered Carbons – Orange, TX: Unaffected by storm.

Sid Richardson – Addis, LA: Shut down on Tuesday as a precaution. Plan to restart on Wednesday depending on power. Plant has highest inventory level possible, tanks are full, and all cars have been pre-shipped. No disruptions expected.

The main concerns as of late Wednesday were related to power supplies and possible disruptions to rail and truck traffic caused by lingering heavy rains. At worst, it appears that the storm may cause some delays of shipments by a few days.

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