Corrected: US Dow may revive 600,000 tonne/year LLDPE expansion project

Author: Al Greenwood

2021/07/22

Correction: In the ICIS story headlined “US Dow may revive 600,000 tonne/year LLDPE expansion project” dated 22 July 2021, an incorrect capacity was reported for a possible PE expansion project in Canada. A corrected story follows.

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow is considering reviving an expansion project that would add 600,000 tonnes/year of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) on the US Gulf Coast, the CEO of the US-headquartered chemicals major said on Thursday.

Dow had initially unveiled the project back in May 2017 as part of a larger investment package worth $4bn.

It later clarified that the LLDPE portion would be built in Freeport, Texas, where the company was expanding its TX-9 cracker.

The Freeport project was announced before the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting recession.

Dow is now revisiting the expansion project.

"There was a project that we had slated to build in the US Gulf Coast of 600,000 tonnes[/year] that, when Covid hit, we pushed out," said Jim Fitterling, Dow's CEO.

He made his comments during an earnings conference call; earlier on Thursday, Dow published its second-quarter financial results.

"We are dusting that off right now. We are going to make a decision on that some time this year," said Fitterling.

Dow has another opportunity to add more PE capacity in Canada, where it is adding a new furnace and debottlenecking its cracker in Fort Saskatchewan in Alberta province.

Dow had announced that project in January 2020. Under it, the company would expand the cracker's ethylene capacity by 130,000 tonnes/year.

Dow is pursuing that expansion in partnership with a regional customer. Dow's share of the expansion is 65,000 tonnes/year.

"In Canada, that expansion is an addition of another furnace and some work on the debottlenecking of the back end of the cracker up there," Fitterling said.

"We have the available capacity in Canada to convert that to PE."

Fitterling did not say when Dow could decide on expanding its PE capacity in Canada.

He did not specify the grade of the PE that Dow would produce under such an expansion project.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dow is looking to expand its plastics portfolio, Fitterling said.

"With the work we've done on reliability, we've got the ethylene within our portfolio to fuel that and make it happen."

Clarification: Recasts details of Canada cracker expansion.

Front page picture: PE film used for food
Source: Shutterstock