Midland, Michigan -- The Dow Chemical Co. has renewed its agreement with Shintech for the supply of vinyl chloride monomer, and will invest money from the deal on funding growth plans in its performance businesses.
As part of its business plan, the company will break ground this year on a state-of- the-art membrane chlor-alkali production facility in Freeport, Texas. The facility, which is designed to provide a long-term reliable supply of chlorine to derivative products, will start-up in 2011.
Dow has existing chlor-alkali facilities in Freeport which need "significant investments to continue operation." The company plans to shut these facilities down over the next three years, resulting in a net reduction of its chlor-alkali capacity on the US Gulf Coast. The new plant should help to make-up for some of the lost capacity.
"Chlorine is a critical feedstock for our performance businesses," said Andrew Liveris, chairman and ceo of Dow, in a 29 Jan statement.
Liveris added that the chemical would enable "future growth in polyurethanes, epoxies, speciality chemicals, speciality plastics, and our agricultural chemicals businesses to name a few."
The company is also pursuing competitive energy alternatives to oil and gas that would further Freeport's energy advantage in North America, said Liveris
Dow also plans to invest in the Middle East and China. In 2007 the company signed an MOU with Saudi Aramcoto develop one of the largest grassroots chemicals production complexes in the world at Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia and a MOU with the Shenhua Group, to develop a coal-to-chemicals project to be located in the Shaanxi Province, China, which is also expected to include a chlor-alkali and vinyl unit.
Chlorine is a major building block for polyurethanes, epoxies, speciality chemicals, speciality plastics, and agricultural chemicals. (ss)