Oman Oil’s Oxea plants in Texas unscathed by Hurricane Harvey
The global chemical company Oxea, which is wholly owned by Oman Oil Company (OOC) — the Omani government’s energy and strategic investment arm — has confirmed that its chemical plants in Texas, USA, were largely spared the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey when the storm slammed into the Texan coast earlier this month.
Oxea’s production facilities located in Bay City and Bishop in Texas resumed operations over the weekend after nearly two weeks in controlledshutdown mode as a safety precaution that went into effect just before the storm made landfall on September 1.
In a statement issued out of the group’s headquarters in Germany at the weekend, Salim al Huthaili, CEO of Oxea, said the storm, while leaving the plants relatively unscathed, did impact the lives of some of its employers.
“The safety of our employees was of primary concern when we shut down the Bay City and Bishop plants and prepared for the storm. Our thoughts are with the huge number of people whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey,” he said. “Now we are working closely with our employees that were significantly affected by the storm and who are dealing with damage and flooding of their personal property and impact on their family and friends. Many Oxea colleagues have volunteered labour, services, and supplies and donated to relief efforts,” the CEO added.
Oxea, one of the world’s largest producers of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives, was acquired by Oman Oil Company in December 2013, a move that effectively catapulted Muscat-based OOC into the ranks of the world’s top chemicals producers.
Oxea operates a global network of plants offering a total production capacity of over 1.3 million tonnes per annum of oxo intermediates and oxo derivatives, such as alcohols, polyols, carboxylic acids, specialty esters, and amines. These intermediate products are used in the production of a wide array of products, including paints and coatings, lubricants, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
In Texas, Oxea is currently focused on gradually ramping up operations at its Bay City and Bishop production sites. The company, having revoked Force Majeure conditions, plans to return to full capacity once the logistics challenges in the wider Texas region, with transport infrastructure damaged in some areas, are resolved. Hurricane Harvey, billed as the most damaging storm in US history, is believed to have caused damage estimated at $200 billion.
Significantly, Oxea also foresees no major challenges in the resumption of construction work on its new world-scale propanol production unit coming up alongside its existing plant in Bay City. The Propanol-2 plant, due to be completed next year, will boost Oxea’s propanol production capacity by around 100,000 metric tonnes/year, and its propionaldehyde capacity by 40,000 mt/year.
Propanol is a key ingredient in the manufacture of a range of products such as adhesives, coatings, printing inks and pharmaceuticals formulations. Propionaldehyde, on the other hand, is used in the production of food preservatives, plasticisers, plastics, rubber chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Oman Oil Company’s longerterm vision behind the acquisition of Oxea is to utilise the chemical giant’s platform to expand its chemicals portfolio and evolve into one of the world’s leading chemicals companies. It seeks to achieve this by leveraging its geographical proximity to competitive raw materials in the region, as well as its location as a gateway to the emerging markets of Asia.
Oxea plant in Bay City.