US shale gas can extend cost advantage to C3 chain – Dow’s Liveris

19 April 2012 18:17  [Source: ICIS news]

FREEPORT, Texas (ICIS)--The advent of shale gas can provide US chemical producers a cost advantage for propylene derivatives, on top of the advantage the industry already enjoys for ethylene-based products, Dow Chemical's CEO said on Thursday.

"We are just as excited about that," Andrew Liveris said. He made his comments following a presentation in which he discussed his company's plans to build a new cracker at its complex in Freeport, Texas.

That cracker can use ethane and propane as a feedstock, giving it a cost advantage versus many of the crackers outside of the US, which rely on oil-based naphtha.

In addition to the cracker, Dow also plans to build a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit at Freeport.

That unit will make propylene on purpose and it will rely on natural-gas-based propane as a feedstock. Most of the world's propylene is produced as a co-product from oil-based feedstock.

Freeport's PDH plant will provide feedstock for many of the downstream units that Dow acquired from its Rohm and Haas deal, Liveris said. 

The PDH plant will use UOP's C(3) Oleflex technology, and it will go a long way towards making Dow self sufficient for propylene, said Jim Fitterling, Dow executive vice president and president of feedstocks & energy and corporate development.

Dow plans to build a second PDH unit that be based on the company's own technology, Fitterling said. That plant could be completed in 2018, and it would make Dow nearly self sufficient for propylene.

Dow has not announced a location for the second PDH unit.

By: Al Greenwood
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