By David Reed, UT EditorThe Woodlands, Texas-Huntsman Corp. says that none of its manufacturing facilities in the Gulf Coast region sustained serious structural damage from Hurricane Rita.The company had closed many of its manufacturing facilities across the region in advance of the storm. The list includes several involved in making key raw materials for polyurethanes, including MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate), TDI (toluene diisocyanate), PO (propylene oxide) and the derived polyether polyols.The affected plants were in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Conroe, Dayton, Chocolate Bayou and Freeport in Texas; Lake Charles and Geismar in Louisiana; as well as its headquarters and research and development campus in The Woodlands, Texas. All but those in Port Arthur, Port Neches and Lake Charles are in the process of restarting, and the Huntsman statement says it expects them to be on line within the next 48 hours. Port Arthur, Port Neches and Lake Charles were all at or near the eye of the Category 3 storm when it came ashore, and are still without power and other utilities, the firm added.Peter R. Huntsman, the firm’s president and CEO, commented, We feel extremely fortunate that none of our employees was injured and none of our facilities sustained serious damage, especially since the eye of the storm passed directly over Port Arthur. With most of our Gulf Coast plants continuing their start-up procedures we have mobilised logistics for Port Arthur, Port Neches and Lake Charles. We are moving generators, mobile homes and motor homes to the sites to accommodate our employees’ needs and expedite the restart of those facilities.”The company’s ability to restart its Port Arthur, Port Neches and Lake Charles sites is dependent on the availability of outside power, utilities and infrastructure, the statement added. Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and commodity chemicals that improve the quality of life for people around the world. Its operating companies provide products, systems and innovative, tailor made solutions for a variety of global industries including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, textiles, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging, and later, rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has 11,300 employees, 57 operations in 22 countries, and had 2004 revenues of $11.5 billion. “
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