Despite Unfathomable Destruction, Harvey to Cause Minimal Interruptions to Aluminium Industry

The once-in-a-millenium storm that is Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey will likely have a limited impact upon aluminium facilities located on the Gulf Coast.

According to reporting by Platts, Alcoa closed a petroleum coke calciner located in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Alcoa spokesman Jim Beck indicated that the newly-restarted plant was idled due to a storm-related power disruption.

However, Beck said that the calciner has not been damaged by the storm as yet.

“We have temporarily halted the calciner,” Beck told Platts. He went on to elaborate by saying that a date for the facility to return to operation has not been set. Additionally, he said that a short-term shut-down will not cause a supply problem.

“We have adequate inventories at our other facilities,” he explained.

The calciner came online again about a month ago after a kiln’s failure on Christmas Day in 2015.

The company also evacuated the entire 58-person workforce at the idle Port Comfort alumina refinery.

Meanwhile, Oxbow Corporation temporarily shut down operations at Texas City Marine Terminal and corporate offices in The Woodlands, just north of Houston. The firm indicated that shut-downs would be only through the middle of this week.

A calcined petcoke shipment from Port Arthur was sent early, explained an Oxbow representative, while the next shipment is scheduled for the middle of this month.

“We’ll have to see how the port operates from now going forward,” explained the unidentified Oxbow spokesperson.

Now a weakening tropical cyclone over northern Alabama, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas in the early morning hours of August 26 as a Category 3 hurricane. The storm far exceeded previous records for rainfall, causing catastrophic flooding and at least 39 deaths to date. Harvey is the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States in a dozen years and has dealt devastation to property in its path that could cost up to US$160 billion and many years to repair.

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