For rubber industry players in Hurricane Ida's path, weathering the storm is just one part of the battle.
Getting operations back up and running following shutdowns, flooding and damages is the largest piece.
How long will that take? It's tough to say.
Bill Hyde's hunch is that facilities will be down for several weeks, rather than several days.
"Every one of these storms is different," Hyde, IHS Markit's executive director of olefins and elastomers, told Rubber News. "The winter storm that we had here (in Texas) in February, it was in many ways very different, but in some ways it was similar. It took six weeks for a lot of these units to come back."
When hurricanes battered the Lake Charles, La., and Port Neches, Texas, areas last year, many facilities were down for about a month, he said.
Cabot Corp., which has operations in both Franklin and Ville Platte, La., began safe shutdown of its production facilities before Ida made landfall. By noon on Aug. 28, both plants had been shut down and safely evacuated, according to a company spokeswoman.
Both plants have electricity and are expected to resume operations by Sept. 1, having sustained minimal damage.
“We are fortunate that our employees at our two carbon black facilities located in Franklin and Ville Platte, La., are safe and accounted for after Hurricane Ida,” Cabot said in a statement. “… We’re grateful for the first responders who are helping keep our local communities in Louisiana safe and our thoughts are with all those impacted by Hurricane Ida.”
It’s still too early to tell how long it will take most companies to get operations back online, Hyde said. But given in the size and intensity of the storm, the industry avoided severe impact. Had the storm hit the Lake Charles, La., or Port Neches, Texas, areas like Laura and Delta last year, the impact would have been much greater.
“Most of the rubber capacity was unaffected by this storm,” Hyde said. “It really comes down to the rubber feedstock, butadiene and styrene, primarily.”