Chemical Company Declares Force Majeure After Facility Fire

Dec 27, 2012

Surface coating and specialty products giant PPG Industries declared a force majeure Thursday for vinyl chloride monomer made at its Lake Charles facility.

Spokesman Jeremy Neuhart  said a force majeure is declared when a company’s normal operation is disrupted and it can no longer meet all customer obligations.

"And in this case it’s a direct result of a fire at our Lake Charles chemicals complex that resulting in reduced operating rates and the shutdown of one unit," said Neuhart.

Neuhart said the Dec. 24 fire, which is under investigation, shut down the vinyl chloride monomer unit indefinitely. In a statement, PPG reported that one employee was transferred to a hospital for treatment. Neuhart said the facility employs 1,300 workers.

Neuhart said there is no end time yet for the force majeure, which also includes all grades of liquid caustic soda system-wide. Caustic soda is a colorless odorless liquid found in products like cleaning agents.

Pittsburg-based PPG estimates a reduction in their commodity chemicals segment by $5 to $8 million for the fourth quarter of this year. They also expect an incremental loss of $2 to $5 million in 2013.