Dow Chemical Co. plans to further integrate the company's North American performance businesses with shale gas liquids, in a move to strengthen its competitive position, as per Dow Jones Newswire. The move will strengthen its performance plastics, performance products and advanced materials businesses. "The improved outlook for U.S. natural gas supply from shale brings the prospect of competitively priced ethane and propane feedstocks to Dow," said Dow executive Jim Fitterling. Dow is currently finalizing plans to increase the company's supply of ethylene. It plans to restart ethylene operations at a site near Hahnville, La., by the end of next year, among other moves. Propylene supply is planned to be raised by constructing a new production facility in Texas and exploring an option to commercialize its own technology to produce propylene from propane. "As the largest consumer of propylene in North America, Dow has a unique opportunity to invest aggressively for on-purpose propylene production from propane," said Fitterling.
On the ethylene side, the Midland-based company plans to:
• Re-start an ethylene cracker at its St. Charles operations site near Hahnville, La., by the end of 2012;
• Improve ethane feedstock flexibility for an ethylene cracker at its Plaquemine, La., site in 2014;
• Increase ethane feedstock flexibility for an ethylene cracker at its Dow Texas operation in 2016;
• Build a new ethylene production plant in the U.S. Gulf Coast, for start-up in 2017.
On the propylene side, Dow plans to:
• Build a new propylene production facility at its Dow Texas site, for start-up in 2015;
• Explore an option to commercialize its own technology to produce propylene from propane, with the potential start-up of a new production unit in 2018.
Dow also announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with a subsidiary of Range Resources Corp. to enter into a long-term supply agreement for ethane from the Marcellus Region in southwest Pennsylvania to Dow’s existing operations in Louisiana.