Dow Chemical Co. is closing a pair of U.S. plants that account for almost 10 percent of North America's capacity to make vinyl chloride monomer, a key feedstock for PVC resin.
Officials with Midland-based Dow said in a Feb. 8 news release that the firm will close a VCM unit in Oyster Creek, Texas, during the first quarter of 2011. Dow previously had announced it would close a similar unit in Plaquemine, La., during the year's third quarter.
Dow's Plaquemine VCM plant has annual capacity of 1.5 billion pounds, while the Oyster Creek site's annual VCM capacity is 500 million pounds, according to Chemical Market Associates Inc., a consulting firm in Houston.
Combined, the plants account for 9.5 percent of North American VCM capacity and more than 2 percent of the global total, according to CMAI.
Dow will continue to make VCM at plants in Freeport, Texas, and Schkopau, Germany.
The moves aren't expected to have a long-term effect on North American VCM supply, since Shintech Inc. is scheduled to bring on more than 3.5 billion pounds of VCM supply by mid-2011 as part of a massive expansion at its plant in Addis, La., near Plaquemine. Dow's Plaquemine plant had been a major supplier to Shintech's PVC production in Addis.
The resulting addition actually will increase North America's VCM capacity by more than 10 percent, according to CMAI market analyst Steve Brien.