EPCA ’13: Propylene volatility 'real challenge' for Dow: exec

07 October 2013 12:20  [Source: ICIS news]

BERLIN (ICIS)--Volatility in the US propylene market has been “a real challenge” for US petrochemical producer Dow Chemical, an executive with the company said on Monday.

That volatility, brought about by the cracking of lighter feedstocks due to the shale gas revolution, has led to less production of the olefin and the need for companies such as Dow to invest in projects such as propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plants, said Patrick Gottschalk, president of Dow’s Performance Monomers and Coatings Materials division.

He made his comments on the sidelines of the 47th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting.

For example, in the past year, prices for polymer-grade propylene (PGP) have varied widely, from a low of 53 cents/lb DEL (delivered) USG (US Gulf) to a high of 79 cents/lb DEL USG. The ICIS currently assessed price for PGP is 70 cents/lb DEL USG.

To better secure the availability of propylene for the making of performance products, Dow is building a 750,000 tonne/year PDH plant in Freeport, Texas, in the complex where it is building a 1.5m tonne/year ethylene plant. Start-up of the PDH plant is set for 2015, while the ethane cracker will start up in 2017, the company said.

The EPCA meeting runs from 5-9 October.

By: Jeremy Pafford
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