Shell Declares Force Majeure on Ethylene at Norco Chemical Plant

Royal Dutch Shell Plc declared force majeure on ethylene yesterday after a ruptured steam line caused the shutdown of an ethylene unit at its Norco chemical plant in Louisiana, said Alexandra Smith, a company spokeswoman.

Production was reduced as a result, according to Smith, who is based in Houston. “The duration of the outage is not yet known,” she said in an e-mail today. The steam line ruptured on Nov. 27, according to Smith.

Force majeure exempts parties from fulfilling contractual obligations when events beyond their control occur.

The plant, in St. Charles Parish, is 26 miles (42 kilometers) west of New Orleans.

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