Bleach producer K2 to build US chlor-alkali plant

17 December 2008 21:59  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US bleach producer K2 Pure Solutions (K2) reached an agreement on Wednesday with Dow Chemical to build a $100m (€72m) chlor-alkali plant and a bleach plant at Dow’s complex in Pittsburg, California, a spokeswoman for Dow said.

As part of the 20-year agreement, K2 will fund the construction of the chlor-alkali plant on land leased from Dow, the spokeswoman said. K2 will operate the plant, but the facility itself will be leased to Dow.

The bleach plant at the site will also be built and operated by K2 and will serve municipal water-treatment markets in northern California, Dow said.

The new chlor-alkali plant in Pittsburg will have production capacity of slightly more than 45,000 tonnes/year of chlorine and 50,000 tonnes/year of caustic soda, Dow said. More exact production figures were not available.

Bleach production at the facility is expected to begin in the fourth-quarter 2010, and chlor-alkali production will begin soon thereafter, Dow said.

K2 CEO Howard Brodie said the project in Pittsburg - along with a similar K2 facility under construction in Vernon, California, that will also begin production in 2010 - will be the first ventures by the company from its core bleach business into feedstock chlor-alkali production.

“It is sometimes difficult to transport chlorine, and this project will allow us to produce chlorine and bleach at the same facility,” Brodie said.

Although most of the chlor-alkali products manufactured at the plant in Pittsburg will be used to make bleach, the remainder will either be sold to Dow for use at its on-site crop-protection-products facility or traded externally.

“The project will allow us to strengthen an essential, basic raw material supply while sharing capital costs and improving our cost structure through further integration at the Pittsburg site,” said John Sampson, Dow Chlor-alkali global business director.

In February 2009, Dow will permanently shut down a chlor-alkali plant in Freeport, Texas, with a caustic soda production capacity of 400,000 tonnes/year, the company said last week.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Greg Holt
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