Hurricane Ike forces shutdowns of major chemical plants

NEW YORK, Sept 11 Thu Sep 11, 2008 4:04pm EDT

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NEW YORK, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Major chemical makers in the United States began to shut down facilities in the Gulf Coast region on Thursday as Hurricane Ike continues to move toward the coast of Texas.

Dow Chemical Co (DOW.N) said it is shutting down its Freeport, Texas, facility, its largest integrated site in the world.

Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker, is also ramping down operations at other sites in Texas, including Clear Lake, La Porte, Texas City and Seadrift.

Most U.S. chemical makers are in the process of restarting facilities in Louisiana that were shut down due to Hurricane Gustav.

DuPont Co (DD.N) said it is in the process of shutting down nine sites that could be impacted by Hurricane Ike.

German chemical maker BASF BASF.DE, with a significant presence in the region, said it is shutting down six facilities likely to be affected by the hurricane.

BASF's sites in Texas are located at Freeport, Port Arthur, Beaumont and Clear Lake. It also has two facilities in Pasadena, Texas. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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