Power outages, workforce displacement impact Southwest Louisiana refineries

CITGO refinery, Lake Charles (Courtesy CITGO)

Power outages could delay restarts of Southwest Louisiana refineries, even if they suffered little damage from the storm.

Citgo, which operates a refinery in Lake Charles, said in a statement Monday that it anticipates a delayed restart, despite a lack of safety issues or fossil fuel releases despite taking a direct hit from Hurricane Laura. However, high winds of up to 150 miles per hour did damage the refinery, and a detailed assessment may take several days.

S&P Global Platts also reported Westlake Chemical, LyondellBasell, and Lotte Chemical, which also have Lake Charles operations affected by the storm, on Monday were continuing damage assessments as well and had yet to disclose further details or restart plans. The Port of Lake Charles also remained closed Aug. 31 pending channel damage assessments.

LyondellBasell’s Lake Charles assets include 400,000 mt/year and 1 million mt/year polypropylene plants. Lotte Chemical in Lake Charles operates a 1 million mt/year joint-venture cracker, nearly half-owned by Westlake, and a 700,000 mt/year MEG plant.

Entergy, which provides power in southwestern Louisiana and southeast Texas, shared extensive power outages in Lake Charles on its social media accounts.

You can see just how much system damage from #Laura our crews are facing in hard-hit areas like Lake Charles, Calcasieu…

Posted by Entergy on Monday, August 31, 2020

The Houston Chronicle reports that analysts are warning power outages could delay restart of refineries, particularly in Louisiana, even if they suffered little damage from the storm.

Energy analysts from S&P Global Platts said refineries in Lake Charles may have a bigger issue getting workers back into the plants than dealing with the damage from Hurricane Laura. Residents along the Gulf Coast were ordered to evacuate ahead of the storm.

S&P Global Platts and The Houston Chronicle have the full story. A subscription may be required.