By: Mike McNulty
RUBBER & PLASTICS NEWS
November 1, 2013
Dow Polyurethanes has launched two expansion projects aimed at expanding its operations in the United States and Asia.
The Dow Chemical Co. business will spend about $42 million to construct a polyether polyols facility at its Map Ta Phut, Thailand, complex.
Dow also is adding polyol and copolymer capacity at its Freeport, Texas, site as part of a debottlenecking project.
A polyether polyols facility is needed in Thailand to reduce logistical costs and transportation risks by minimizing the amount of transportation across the region, the company said.
Dow Polyurethanes' Thailand expansion "is directly aligned to our long-term strategy for Dow's Thailand Growth Project," aimed at strengthening the company's position in Asia, said Mark Bassett, global business director of Dow Polyurethanes.
Its Thailand plan was established more than a decade ago, a spokesman said, and supports the company's overall growth strategy, which includes addressing trends in emerging markets by delivering products for the agriculture, packaging, electronics, water and other specialty and advanced materials businesses.
Dow's newest plant will be built at an existing company complex in Map Ta Phut, the spokesman said. Construction is slated to start in 2014. He said an estimate isn't available on when the facility is expected to be completed.
Using state-of-the-art double metal cyanide catalyst technology, the Midland-headquartered firm said the new site will deliver local, reliable supply of polyether polyols for flex slab applications that present a variety of unique opportunities, especially addressing customer demand in coating, sealant and elastomer applications.
Dow's new Thailand site is well positioned in Southeast Asia and through free trade agreements with most Asian countries, including China, the spokesman said.
At Dow's Freeport facility, double metal cyanide catalysts will be installed to facilitate the debottlenecking, which will allow its Texas facility to meet customer needs in the region and boost global supply of the products, Bassett said.
Increasing capacity at the Freeport facility "positions Dow to assist customers with growing demand for polyols and copolymer polyols down the value chain," he said. The firm did not release details on the project's cost.
The debottlenecking is planned for implementation in 2014 and 2015 "to build on the strengths of Dow's integrated polyurethanes site position, and low ethylene oxide position in Freeport, to meet customer needs and boost global supply of Dow's products," the spokesman said.
Customers in the Gulf Coast region will benefit from the capacity increase because logistic costs will be reduced as will transportation risks "by minimizing the amount of transportation across different assets in the region," he said.