Dow Chemical Co. has completed construction of a polyethylene (PE) plant in Freeport, Tex., as part of its $6-billion US Gulf Coast investment program in Texas and Louisiana on projects to utilize low-cost and advantaged US shale gas feedstock (OGJ Online, Mar. 30, 2017).
Based on the company’s proprietary Solution process technology, the 400,000-tonne/year PE plant has entered its commissioning phase in sequence with the midyear commercial startup of Dow’s 1.5 million-tpy Freeport ethylene plant, the operator said.
Scheduled to ramp up during the third quarter and to reach full operations in the fourth, the PE unit will produce Dow’s proprietary ELITE enhanced PE resins for use in flexible packaging applications for food, personal hygiene products, and other industrial packaging.
The Freeport PE unit is the first mechanically completed project of four derivative investments under way at Dow’s operations in Texas and Louisiana, which alongside a planned debottlenecking project, are staged to enter operation between 2017-18.
Alongside the PE unit, those projects include:
• A 350,000-tpy specialty low-density PE unit for industrial and supply-chain packaging applications slated to come online in coordination with the Freeport cracker.
• A 200,000-tpy proprietary next-generation NORDEL metallocene ethylene-propylene-diene-monomer (EPDM) unit slated for startup in early 2018.
• A 125,000-tpy bimodal gas-phase debottleneck to increase production of bimodal PE resins for high-performance pipe and fitting applications as well as the cap-and-closure market planned for startup later in 2018.
• A 320,000-tpy increase in output of high-melt index specialty and conventional polyolefin elastomers for flexible packaging, transportation, and consumer markets due to come online in late 2018.
Dow, which began commissioning activities at the Freeport ethylene plant earlier this year, also recently announced a $4-billion round of investments over the next 5 years to expand its US petrochemicals manufacturing business as part the company’s next phase of projects designed to take advantage of US shale gas feedstock (OGJ Online, May 12, 2017).
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