News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

December 22, 2022

Continental Carbon announces closure of Phenix City carbon black plant

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 8:05 pm

On Tuesday, Continental Carbon Company issued a letter to customers, employees, and partners announcing the closure of the company’s carbon black plant in Phenix City, Alabama as of December 31, 2022. As previously reported, the plant is subject to a Consent Decree with the US EPA that sets December 31 as the deadline for the installation of equipment to reduce emissions of SOx/NOx. Continental has been seeking an extension on the deadline.

In a letter announcing the closure, Dennis Hetu, President of CCC, said:

CCC has been engaged with the EPA and DOJ for several months now in an exhaustive attempt to reach an amendment to the Consent Decree and extend the deadline. We have not been asking to be absolved of the requirements but simply a request to extend the deadline – as all of our competitors in the market have requested. However, as of the writing of this note the EPA and DOJ have provided us with one simple answer – NO! They have no desire nor interest to extend our deadline and do not seem to be concerned with the impacts to the economy, supply chain, employees, or even the fact that this will encourage more imports from two nations (China and Russia) who do not concern themselves with environmental impacts.

December 15, 2022

Continental Carbon carbon black plant to close following EPA/DOJ decision

Filed under: Carbon Black — Notch @ 5:23 pm

The Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Justice have ruled that no extension or grace period will be granted to Continental Carbon Co. regarding the installation of environmental remediation equipment at its Phenix City, Alabama carbon black plant, Notch has learned from industry sources. This means that, barring some further development, the factory will cease operations by January 1, 2023. Continental Carbon had requested a two- to three-year extension on the completion schedule stipulated in its consent decree with the US EPA/DOJ, which requires a DGS (dry gas scrubbing) or WGS (wet gas scrubbing) system for sulfur dioxide and particulate matter to be installed at the plant by December 31, 2022 and in continuous operation by 180 days thereafter.

Continental Carbon has already completed the required remediation projects for its other two carbon black plants in the United States. The schedule for these projects was September 1, 2020 for Sunray, Texas and April 1, 2021 for Ponca City, Oklahoma. The consent decree was signed in 2015 and modified in 2017. The effort to keep the factory open received significant local and regional support.

The factory has 90,000 tons/year of capacity for tread grades, though in recent years it has been operating at partial capacity. Notch estimates that the closure will remove about 40-50 KT of supply from the US carbon black market.

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