Alliance Refinery

Water continues to stand around the Alliance refinery after Hurricane Ida in Belle Chasse, La., Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Photo by Sophia Germer, NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

NEW ORLEANS - Nearly a quarter of industrial sites in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans area remain idled more than two weeks after Hurricane Ida made landfall while more than half are beginning to restart operations.

Local industrial membership organization The Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance surveyed companies in the stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans twice after Hurricane Ida to gauge the impact and recovery. There were 40 different companies that responded to the survey.

All businesses which responded idled operations before the storm and took preventative measures, such as moving materials from railcars to storage tanks, pausing raw material shipments and relocating barges up the Mississippi River.

Almost 80% of the industrial group's members were not operational in the days following the storm. Ida knocked out power for about a million residential and commercial customers alike across the state, including more than of 60% of respondents.

Of the companies still not operational, some of the reason for delays included lack of nitrogen supply and other raw materials, being short staffed and equipment damage. Most of the damage was structural such as missing insulation, roofs or towers. Some had trouble securing enough diesel to run generators.

Additional barriers to reopening included high demand for electrical parts, a lack of hotel rooms for contractors, a shortage of gasoline and a lack of truck drivers. As most petrochemical plants that rely on each other were in the process of restarting, companies have been declaring force majeure for some feedstock, which means they can't fulfill a customer contract.

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