Midland, Michigan-Following shut downs in advance of Hurricane Rita, inspection crews at sites along the Gulf Coast owned or controlled by Dow Chemical Co. or Union Carbide Corp. have so far found no significant structural damage at any of the facilities, according to a 25 Sept announcement. But, the firm warned, it could be several weeks before they are all back on stream.Several of the plants involved make key raw materials for the polyurethanes sector, including TDI (toluene diisocyanate), MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate), PO (propylene oxide) and polyether polyols.The company says it has now mobilised maintenance and operations teams to bring utilities back on line at its seven sites along the Texas Gulf Coast as swiftly as it is safe to do so . Safety and status assessments will continue throughout the start-up operation, a process that will take several weeks to complete.The supply of fuel gas and raw materials, as well as transportation logistics around the Gulf of Mexico were significantly impacted as a consequence of the previous Hurricane Katrina at the end of August, and these matters are expected to present a continuing challenge to industry throughout the region, the statement added.Dow’s sites at Freeport, Deer Park, Clear Lake and LaPorte, as well as the Union Carbide facilities in Texas City and Seadrift and the Dow Haltermann site in Houston were all safely shut down before dawn Friday 23 Sept, 24 hours before the hurricane made landfall. The company’s Houston business centres were also closed.Dow’s sites in Louisiana, Plaquemine, and St Charles operations in Hahnville, tracked the hurricane’s path and took action as necessary in line with their established hurricane preparedness plans. Neither was required to shut down operations but adjusted production rates as necessary, Dow said.Dow is a leader in science and technology, providing innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $40 billion, Dow serves customers in 175 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress: food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its 43,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted.”
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