23 February 2011 22:50 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical has ceased operations at its vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) plant in southeast Texas, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The shutdown process began in early February, said spokeswoman Amy Ahlich.
It is the second unit that Dow has scheduled for closure. In 2009, the company revealed that it would close a VCM unit in Plaquemine, Louisiana, in the third quarter of 2011. It has a capacity of 680,000 tonnes/year.
VCM is a precursor material for polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used for piping and vinyl products in the building and construction industry, as well as for plastic used in medical supplies.
Dow chlor-vinyl business director Carlo Guarino had described the closure as a move to “rightsize” its manufacturing footprint and shift the company’s basic feedstocks.
Dow is building a chlor-alkali plant in Freeport as a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. The 800,000 tonne/year membrane-based chlor-alkali plant is expected to begin production in mid 2013.
Dow intends to operate and maintain the facility. The caustic soda produced out of the chlor-alkali facility will be marketed by Dow on behalf of the joint venture, the company said.
Mitsui’s share of the chlorine produced would be converted into ethylene dichloride (EDC) by Dow for Mitsui’s use. The EDC would be marketed globally by Mitsui.
Other US VCM producers include Formosa Plastics, Georgia Gulf, Oxy Vinyls, Shintech and Westlake.
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