Lightning strike forces closure of LyondellBasell’s Lake Charles polypropylene plant

(iStock) Calcasieu Parish

An update is expected today on the closure of LyondellBasell’s Equistar Chemicals polypropylene plant in Lake Charles late last week following a lightning strike, S&P Global Platts reports.

The lightning strike occurred July 13. Local television station KPLC-TV reported heavy black smoke from two of the facility’s flares. Jim Rock of the Lake Area Industry Alliance told the station a lightning strike knocked out both LyondellBasell’s power center and its tie-in to Entergy, causing the plant to lose electricity and steam.

“This unforeseen event caused utilities outages and a shutdown of all plant production lines,” the company said in a letter to customers obtained by S&P Global Platts. “We are currently evaluating the overall impact to the plant and are working towards restart; however, at this time, we do not have a complete timeline for startup.”

An update on operations is expected by close of business today.

The plant has nameplate capacity totaling 509,000 million tons per year of polypropylene, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics data.