By Liz White, UT staffThe Woodlands, Texas-In preparation for Hurricane Rita, forecast to hit the Texas coastline 23 Sept, Huntsman Corp. has suspended operations at its Texas Gulf Coast facilities. This includes manufacturing facilities in Port Arthur, Port Neches, Conroe, Freeport, Chocolate Bayou and Dayton. Huntsman said it has also evacuated its headquarters and research and technology centre in the Woodlands. About 2000 employees work at these sites, Huntsman said. The suspension will affect production of propylene oxide for the polyurethanes business, as well as manufacture of ethylene, propylene, cyclohexane, butadiene, MTBE, surfactants, amines and ethylene glycol. The chemicals group said all its other facilities in North America currently remain operational.Huntsman previously reported that none of its manufacturing facilities was damaged by hurricane Katrina-including its primary North American polyurethanes facility in Geismar, Louisiana. “The safety of our employees and the communities in which we operate is the Company’s top priority … we have taken action well in advance of the storm,” said Peter Huntsman, president and ceo.” Once the storm has passed, we will evaluate our facilities and begin to re-start them in a safe, controlled manner,” he added. “
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