Midland, Michigan - Dow Chemical Co. is raising ethylene oxide (EO) capacity and halting production of ethylene glycol (EG) at its EO/EG plant in Terneuzen, The Netherlands. As a result of predicted oversupply of EG by 2009, the group plans to halt production of EG at the site before the end of 2008, the company announced, 18 March.
During 2009, Dow said, it will also raise efficiency with a 22 percent increase in purified EO capacity at the Dutch unit, at the same time significantly reducing emissions at the plant.
"This project is aligned with Dow's strategy to transform less cost-effective investments into opportunities with higher growth potential," said Lee Christens, global business director, Dow EO/EG, in the company announcement.
"The transition to EO-only is an example of Dow's commitment to further grow its performance businesses, such as polyurethanes, through an increased supply of competitive-cost raw materials," Christens added.
Dow said that the efficiency improvement will also give a 12 percent drop in priority emissions and a 17 percent cut in chemical emissions at Terneuzen, supporting Dow's efforts to shrink its environmental footprint.
Cutting EG production is possible because, with significant EG additions expected online in Asia and the Middle East, the "market is expected to experience a surplus by mid-2009," Christens pointed out. Hence, "Dow decided the time was right to shut down Terneuzen EG production."
Higher EO production in Terneuzen supports Dow's strategy to grow its polyurethanes business globally, the company added.
Dow added that higher capacity for purified EO at Ternuezen will support the growth of EO derivatives such as polyether polyols, used in polyurethane products and systems.
EO is also used to make glycol ethers, ethanolamines and ethoxylates.