Already tight resin markets will be further tightened by freezing temperatures that have knocked out power across Texas.
It may take another five days to determine just how much the storms and power outages have hit resin companies in the region.
More than 4 million homes and businesses were without power early Feb. 16 in Texas, where temperatures dipped into the single digits overnight, according to a USA Today report.
Much of east Texas—including the Gulf Coast, where much resin production is located—was under a winter storm warning Feb. 15 in anticipation of the next round of snow and ice.
Forecasters in Houston are expecting as much as a half inch of ice and for cold temperatures to continue through Feb. 21.
"It's probably going to be Monday (Feb. 22) until we really know where we stand," one resin company executive told Plastics News.
ExxonMobil Chemical has closed its Beaumont and Baytown plants in Texas because of freezing weather conditions, coupled with the curtailment of natural gas supplies throughout Texas, a company spokesman said in an email to PN.
ExxonMobil makes polyethylene resin and ethylene feedstock at both locations. It also makes polypropylene resin in Baytown and propylene feedstock in Beaumont.
"Our primary focus continues to be the safety of employees, contractors and the communities in the region," the spokesman said. He added that the firm's production in Baton Rouge, La., remains operational. "Our marketing terminal remains open and is supplying fuel to the customers to support the region's energy needs," he said. "We continue to meet contractual commitments."
Dow Inc. of Midland, Mich., also has closed some Gulf Coast units, but officials declined to provide details.
"At this time, due to extremely low temperatures and unprecedented natural gas, nitrogen and electric power curtailments, we have safely brought off line certain units within Dow sites along the U.S. Gulf Coast," a spokeswoman said in an email to PN.
Dow makes PE, ethylene and related products at several Texas Gulf Coast sites, including Freeport, Orange, Seadrift and Victoria.
"It is too early to estimate any potential impact on our businesses," the spokeswoman added. "We expect impacted operations to begin restarting and ramping production rates as warmer weather allows."
She also said that Dow "has comprehensive, well-developed weather preparedness plans and began implementing them as the cold weather approached over the weekend in an effort to mitigate impact, in adherence with current COVID restrictions."
Officials with resin makers LyondellBasell Industries, Braskem Americas, Covestro, Formosa Plastics Corp. USA and Westlake Chemical Corp, also confirmed to PN that their Texas facilities were impacted by the cold weather.
LyondellBasell had to flare material at some sites because of the shutdowns, according to spokesperson Chevalier Gray.
A Formosa spokesman said that most of the firm's massive complex in Point Comfort is down, including units that make PE, PP, ethylene and propylene.
Market sources added that resin production operated in Texas by Chevron Phillips Chemical (in Cedar Bayou, Sweeny and Port Arthur) and Oxy Vinyls (in Pasadena) all were down early Feb. 16. Officials with those firms could not be reached for comment.
More power outages could be coming in Texas, according to the USA Today report. Bitter cold across the state has led to some power companies being unable to produce electricity from coal, natural gas and wind due to freezing temperatures, the report added.