APLA ’13: Dow touts shale gas, showcases US cracker restart

18 November 2013 21:44  [Source: ICIS news]

CARTAGENA, Colombia (ICIS)--Dow Chemical touted the development of shale gas resources in the US on Monday, showcasing the restart of a steam cracker in Louisiana it had idled in 2009 while saying the shale gas revolution in North America would eventually spread to other countries.

“It is not just a North American phenomenon… it is all over the world,” Brian Ames, Dow Chemical’s hydrocarbon business president, said during a presentation at the Latin American Petrochemical Association (APLA) annual meeting.

Ames described the advent of shale gas in the US as “a little bit surreal”, coming at a time when the US was shutting down production because it could not compete with lower-cost producers in other regions.

Shale was not something that caught the industry by surprise, but one that did generate a sense of something “overwhelming”, he told delegates.

Dow shut down eight plants and a steam cracker in 2008 only to plan to restart the unit two years later, he said.

Ames showed a video during his presentation describing the shutdown and restart process of the company’s St Charles Olefins 2 unit in Louisiana.

The 380,000 tonne/year unit was shut down in January 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

But Ames said Dow made the decision in April 2011 to restart the cracker as the outlook for the US olefins industry had completely changed as a result of shale gas.

The cracker resumed production on Christmas Day 2012.

The restart is expected to deliver a $150m (€111m) increase to the group’s earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2013, Dow predicted shortly after the unit resumed production.

The APLA conference ends on Tuesday.

($1 = €0.74)

By: William Lemos
+1 713 525 2653

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