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Northeast chemical producers prepared for Hurricane Sandy

October 30, 2012
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HOUSTON — The U.S. chemical industry is ready to implement emergency plans as it monitors Hurricane Sandy, according to a report from ICIS.

“The facilities are pretty prepared,” said Scott Jensen, a spokesman with the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “They’ll put their plans in place as they get a better understanding of where the storm is going to hit and how it will impact them.”

Most facilities were not expected to incur major structural damage and will be operational within days, the ACC said.

“The storm can cause cascading effects beyond being able to get the facility back online such as transporting material in, getting the employees access and shipping the products out,” Jensen said.

Staying informed is key, he added, and the federal government has done a good job coordinating with the ACC and directly communicating with the facilities.

The Chemistry Council of New Jersey (CCNJ) said the Regional Operations Intelligence Center was on alert, prepared for the state to communicate with the private sectors about power, utilities, transportation and other operations.

“All of our East coast operations continue to operate normally while we prepare our facilities for the storm,” said Phillips 66, which operates a 238,000 bbl/day refinery in Linden, N.J.

Braskem said it was undergoing storm preparations at its 345,000 ton/year polypropylene (PP) plant in Marcus Hook, Pa.

NOAA said the said the large size of the system and its slow movement would cause “pretty significant surge and widespread winds."

In 2011, Irene paralleled the U.S. east coast, while Sandy may hit the coastline more directly, Franklin said.

In addition, NOAA is seeing at least three “blocking mechanisms” causing the storm to move in a westerly direction. With the slow movement, the storm will last several days, and the full moon will affect tides.

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