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Dow Chemical unveils US Gulf Coast performance plastics projects

Technip completes FEED on Freeport ethylene cracker

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_Tool To optimize the competitive advantage of the US glut of shale gas, the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is planning to increase locally the number and variety of production units downward its chemical value chain.

Presented as early as April 2011, the US Gulf Coast Investment Plan elaborated by Dow is aiming at boosting the production of petrochemical products by all means to:

Dow_Freeport_Ethylene_Project – Re-start idled facilities such as St Charles ethylene cracker near Hahnville in Louisiana.

 – Improve flexibility of ethylene cracker to accept shale gas feedstock such as in Plaquemine facility in Louisiana and at Dow Texas Operations

 – Add new production units such as world scale ethylene cracker and propylene production units

To feed all these new production units, Dow is securing its supply for ethane and propane from Eagle Ford and Marcellus shale gas basins.

As the largest producer of ethylene and largest consumer of propylene in North America, Dow signed agreement with Range Resources Corporation for the delivery of ethane from Marcellus shale gas field.

Technip_Ethylene_CrackerIn order to maximize growth with its US Gulf Coast Investment Plan, Dow is proceeding step by step in beginning with the consolidation of its market leadership in ethylene and propylene derivatives.

In April 2012, Dow announced to build a new world scale ethylene cracker in Freeport as part of its Dow Texas Operations along the Gulf Coast

Dow greenfield Freeport ethane cracker should produce 1.5 million t/y of ethylene

In October 2012, Dow selected Technip Claremont in California to perform the front end engineering and design (FEED) of this ethylene plant due to start commercial operations in 2017.

Fluor signed FEED and EPCM for Freeport propylene

Regarding the propylene project Dow decided to integrate its production to take advantage of the low propane cost as row material.

To save time on taking advantage of this propylene integrated strategy, Dow signed in December 2011 a license agreement with Honeywell-UOP to use the C3 Oleflex TM technology to convert shale gas propane into polymer grade propylene by propane dehydrogenation.

Dow-Texas-Operations-in-FreeportIn September 2012, Dow awarded Fluor the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contract.

Fluor had previously completed the FEED work for this Dow propylene project in Freeport, Texas, USA.

Fluor is performing the EPCM contract from its Houston office in Texas with the support from its Philippines office.

This contract is part of Fluor Strategic Global Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Construction Management Agreement signed with Dow in 2012 for its greenfield projects across the world. 

In January 2013, Dow ordered the long lead items for a first production unit of  750,000 t/y of on-purpose propylene based on Honeywell-UOP technology and to come on stream in 2015.

Then and since the production of on-purpose propylene out of shale gas propane is becoming a core business, Dow is developing its own technology for a second production unit expected to run into commercial operations in 2018.

Dow estimated these ethylene and propylene Gulf Coast projects in Freeport, Texas, USA, to cost $4 billion capital expenditure.

Dow to add units to Texas Freeport ethylene cracker

In March 2013, Dow unveils the next phases of its US Gulf Coast Investment Plan with series of additional projects for high performance plastics.

These greenfield high added value chemical units will come downstream of the ethylene cracker and the propylene facilities such as:

 – Metallocene Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) branded by Dow as NORDEL TM

 – High Melt Index (HMI) Elastomers branded AFFINITY TM

 – Enhanced Polyethylene named ELITE TM

 – Low-density polyethylene (LDPE)

In October 2012, Dow has already announced the investment in the EPDM facility in expected its completion in 2016.

Dow_EPDM_RoofingEPDM belongs to Dow Elastomers division to supply hydrocarbon rubber parts to the automotive and building sector or the electrical and telecommunications industries.

Dow is planning Fluor to complete the FEED for these additional high performances hydrocarbon products in 2014

In parallel Dow signed a commercial agreement with Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. (Idemitsu), and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., (Mitsui), both from Tokyo in Japan to off-take ethylene from the Dow Freeport Operations as feedstock for an Alpha Linear Olefin project.

Idemitsu and Mitsui are also looking for taking advantage of the rejuvenated US petrochemical industry with a greenfield world scale alpha linear olefin plant to be built also on the US Gulf Coast.

Through its US Gulf Coast Investment Plan and the support from Technip and Fluor for FEED and EPCM work on Freeport ethylene, propylene and high performances plastics, Dow Chemical is gearing up its strategic relocation into the USA for its main chemical activities by 2017. 

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