NEW YORK — Dow Chemical Co. will build its second of three polypropylene production facilities in Taragona, Spain, by 2000, and its third PP production facility will be located in North America at a later date. Robert Wood, business vice president for Engineering Plastics, said Dow's first PP facility, at Schkopau, Germany, will begin production of 440 million pounds of PP a year by the first quarter of 1998. The Taragona facility also will produce 440 million pounds of PP a year.
While Dow is building its plants, it will develop markets in North America through a product-swapping arrangement with Montell Polyolefins.
Wood said Dow began selling PP products this year, and expects to build its market further in 1997. Wood made the annoucement at Dow's annual year-end news conference, held Dec. 12 in New York.
At last year's news conference, Wood said the Midland, Mich., company intended to be among the top three producers of PP in the world by 2005. Wood reaffirmed that intention this year, and provided some detail on the progress the company has made toward that target.
``Polypropylene is another weapon in our arsenal,'' Wood said. ``Differentiation is a significant element of our entry strategy into PP.
``The construction of new manufacturing facilities, in addition to our previously announced Buna Sow Leuna Olefinverbund GmbH facility in [Schkopau] Germany, will be driven by the success of our differentiated efforts and will allow us to meet projected above-average global demand growth for PP and to create value for our customers,'' Wood said.
Dow aligned itself with Montell in a technology and product swapping arrangement in June 1996. It provided Dow with a license to use Montell's Spheripol production process, while Montell of Hoofddorp, Netherlands, gained access to Dow's metallocene catalyst technology. The arrangement also included Montell's supplying Dow with PP resin to develop its markets.
``We have access to millions of pounds of preproduction product, we have our own infrastructure, feedstocks and resources,'' Wood said, noting that Dow will invest $100 million in the coming three years to build its production facilities and to develop its markets.
Separately, Romeo Kreinberg, vice president for Dow's polyethylene business, said Dow will add a new production train at its Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, polyethylene facility.
The new production train will add 550 million pounds of capacity to the facility, for a total of 1.4 billion pounds of PE a year by late 1998. The new train will use Dow's solution process.
Also, Wood announced that Dow has narrowed its selection for a syndiotactic polystyrene facility to two sites: One at Freeport, Texas, the other at Schkopau.
Wood said Dow expects to announce that it will build an 80 million-pound-per-year SPS facility at one of those sites in the near future.
Production of SPS, a new polymer family made with metallocene catalyst technology, is to begin by early 1999, according to Wood.