Oman Oil’s Oxea plants in Texas un­scathed by Hur­ri­cane Har­vey

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE - CON­RAD PRABHU MUS­CAT, SEPT 16

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.

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