Dow Shuts Plaquemine Hydrocarbon Cracker After Upset

Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker, shut the light hydrocarbon cracker 3 after a “process upset” at its Plaquemine plant in Louisiana, said Gregory Baldwin, a company spokesman.

The cracker was safely shut down and there were no injuries, Baldwin, who is based at company headquarters in Midland, Michigan, said today in an e-mail. It was taken offline after a process upset April 16. A restart date is being assessed, according to Baldwin.

A cracker split oil products like naphtha and liquefied petroleum gases through pressure and heat. Outages can increase prices for ethylene and propylene as companies turn to spot markets to help them meet supply contracts.

The company shut an ethylene plant at Plaquemine for over two weeks on Feb. 16 to make repairs, Baldwin said at the time.

Plaquemine is 94 miles (151 kilometers) northwest of New Orleans.