PORT NECHES, Texas (Sept. 11, 2008) – Synthetic rubber producers in Texas are closing their plants in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ike.
ISP Elastomers said it shut down its Port Neches and Texas City, Texas, facilities, and Goodyear said it closed its Beaumont and Houston operations. Lanxess reportedly has done the same with its Orange facility.
The storm is expected to make landfall Saturday as a Category 3 hurricane, with winds of 131 mph, somewhere between Galveston and Corpus Christi. The region is home to at least 11 synthetic rubber plants.
“We have secured and closed both of our plants in the Texas Gulf Coast — at Texas City and at Port Neches — to protect our people, our facilities and the communities in which they operate,” said Steve Post, ISP senior vice president of operations.
Earlier, ISP notified its customers of its production curtailment because of the approaching hurricane. The company noted in an e-mail that Jefferson and Orange counties were under a mandatory evacuation order as of 6 a.m. Sept. 11.
A Goodyear spokesman said the company is cooperating with Harris County officials and evacuating the area. “That means we are safely and carefully shutting down our (Beaumont) facilities, which will make it easier for us to resume operations once the all-clear has been given,” he said.
Goodyear doesn't expect any shutdown or curtailment of North American tire production because of lack of synthetic rubber supply from Beaumont, the spokesman said.
“We made sure we have enough raw materials,” he said. “That figured into our calculations.”