Arkema in advanced review for investment project in Beaumont

Arkema has confirmed a detailed investment review with partner Novus International Inc. to double production capacities at Arkema’s Beaumont Thiochemicals site. This project will support the strong global growth in the animal nutrition market and further strengthens Arkema’s world leading position in high value-added sulfur derivatives.

Arkema is reviewing in detail, with its partner Novus, the doubling of production capacities at its Beaumont site in Texas to supply high value-added sulfur derivatives for the new methionine hydroxy analogue production unit announced by Novus at the end of 2017 at a site in Calhoun County, Texas.

This project would support the strong annual growth of the global demand for methionine, an essential amino acid for animal nutrition, which should reach 6 percent over the coming years.

Subject to a final decision on this investment, expected to be made at the end of 2018, the new units should come on stream by the summer of 2021.

This project is part of Arkema’s long-term ambition announced by the group at its 2017 Capital Markets Day.

Reporting annual sales of $9.6 billion in 2017, Arkema employs approximately 20,000 people worldwide and operates in close to 55 countries with research centers in North America, France and Asia concentrating on advances in bio-based products, new energies, water management, electronic solutions, lightweight materials and design, home efficiency and insulation.

Visit www.arkema.com for more information.

CSB releases final report on Arkema fire

May 24,The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final investigation report into the Aug. 31, 2017, fire at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby. In the days leading up to the incident, an unprecedented amount of rain fell at the plant due to Hurricane Harvey, causing equipment to flood and fail. As a result, chemicals stored at the plant decomposed and burned, releasing fumes and smoke into the air.

CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Our investigation found that there is a significant lack of guidance in planning for flooding or other severe weather events. Based on other government reports, we know that there is a greater likelihood of more severe weather across the country. As we prepare for this year’s hurricane season, it is critical that industry better understand the safety hazards posed by extreme weather events.”

The Arkema chemical plant manufactures and distributes organic peroxides used to produce consumer goods such as solid surface countertops and polystyrene cups and plates. Some of the organic peroxides produced at the plant must be kept below 32 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent them from decomposing and catching fire. Under normal operation, the organic peroxides are stored in low temperature warehouses and shipped in refrigerated trailers.

Extensive flooding after heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey caused the plant to lose power and backup power to all of the low temperature warehouses. Workers at the Arkema facility moved the organic peroxides from the warehouses to the refrigerated trailers, which were then relocated to a high elevation area of the plant. Three of those trailers, however, were unable to be moved and eventually flooded and failed. With refrigeration on those trailers lost, there was nothing to stop the chemicals inside from heating up and catching fire

All of Arkema’s employees were evacuated from the facility and more than 200 residents living nearby the facility were evacuated and could not return home for a week. Twenty-one people sought medical attention from reported exposures to the fumes and smoke released into the air.

In its final report, the CSB called for more robust industry guidance to help hazardous chemical facilities better prepare for extreme weather events, like flooding, so that similar incidents can be avoided

CSB Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Considering that extreme weather events are likely to increase in number and severity, the chemical industry must be prepared for worst case scenarios at their facilities. We cannot stop the storms, but working together, we can mitigate the damage and avoid a future catastrophic incident.”

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical incidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. For more information, contact public@csb.gov.

Category: