FREEPORT, TEXAS (April 19, 1:35 p.m. ET) — Dow Chemical Co. has chosen
The cracker will be part of an overall investment of $4 billion in Dow's ethylene and propylene production in the U.S. Gulf Coast, officials with Midland, Mich.-based Dow said in an April 19 news release. The unit is expected to open in 2017 and will employ 2,000 at the peak of construction.
The new cracker will have annual ethylene capacity of 3.3 billion pounds and will employ 150 when fully operational, a Dow spokeswoman said. The project could create as many as 1,200 jobs in the area, according to industry projections, she added. No increased polyethylene production has been announced as part of the Dow expansion.
Low prices for natural gas in the region played a role in Dow's decision, since natural gas can be used to make ethane, which is then converted into ethylene.
“For the first time in over a decade,
“Constructing this new ethylene cracker at Dow Texas Operations will create a long-term advantage for our downstream businesses and for our company as a whole,” he added. “And the benefits will accrue not only to Dow, but to the state and national economy.”
Jim Fitterling, Dow executive vice president, said the outlook for advantaged
Liveris made the site selection announcement in
Dow is one of the world's largest plastics and chemicals makers. The firm posted sales of almost $60 billion in 2011, up almost 12 percent vs. 2010.
News of the site selection comes less than three weeks after Dow announced it was cutting 900 jobs worldwide and closing at least four plants making expanded polystyrene foam and polyurethane feedstocks. Officials said the job cuts and closings are the result of continued weakness in the European economy.
Dow is one of several petrochemical makers that have announced North American expansion plans because of newfound supplies of natural gas. In February, Formosa Plastics Corp.
Shell Oil Co. also will build a new cracker in western