US Dow to begin building Freeport cracker on Monday

25 June 2014 15:42 Source:ICIS News

US Dow to begin building Freeport cracker on MondayHOUSTON (ICIS)--Dow Chemical plans to start construction on its ethane cracker in Freeport, Texas, on Monday 30 June, the US-based producer said on Wednesday.

The 1.5m tonne/year cracker remains on track to start production in the first half of 2017, Dow said.

It is among several projects that Dow is undertaking, including a 750,000 tonne/year propane dehydrogenation (PDH) plant.

“When combined with our on-purpose propylene PDH project, which is more than 30% complete, this ethylene production facility takes Dow yet another step closer to realising the full financial benefit of our Gulf coast investment effort,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow executive vice president, Feedstocks, Energy and Performance Plastics.

“This investment will connect cost-advantaged raw materials to many of the company’s highest-margin downstream businesses - including Performance Plastics - businesses that also consistently deliver a high return on invested capital," he said.

In all, Dow's projects in the Gulf coast should deliver $2.5bn in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), Fitterling said.

Other Dow expansions include 200,000 tonnes/year for its NORDEL metallocene ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM); 320,000 tonnes/year of high-melt specialty index elastomers; 400,000 tonnes/year of ELITE polyethylene (PE); and 350,000 tonnes/year of specialty low density PE (LDPE).

With shale gas dominating the headlines and ethane a major talking point in the petrochemical industry, ICIS editors in Houston are closely monitoring the situation. See the ICIS special report on shale, ethane and US ethane exports.

By Al Greenwood