Dow advances Oyster Creek complex expansion, upgrade

Dow Chemical Co. will begin construction on the previously announced ethylene production expansion and upgrade project at its Oyster Creek complex in Freeport, Tex., on June 30, the company said (OGJ Online, Oct. 29, 2012; Apr. 30, 2012).

With a nameplate capacity of about 1.5 million tonnes/year, the ethylene production plant is a foundational element in Dow Chemical’s multibillion dollar investment along the US Gulf Coast to utilize low-cost and advantaged US shale gas feedstocks, the company said.

The ethylene project, which will employ as many as 2,000 workers during construction, remains on schedule for start-up during first-half 2017, Dow Chemical said.

The Oyster Creek project includes a propane dehydrogenation (PDH) unit, an ethane cracker, and associated power, utilities, and infrastructure upgrades designed to process hydrocarbons from domestic shale formations (OGJ Online, May 2, 2013).

The PDH unit, which will convert propane into propylene, is more than 30% complete, according to Jim Fitterling, Dow Chemical’s executive vice-president of feedstocks, energy, and performance plastics.

In addition to the upgrades at Oyster Creek, Dow Chemical in late 2012 announced a number of ethylene-related projects along the US Gulf Coast to take advantage of low-cost feedstocks derived from US shale gas production. These include:

• Restarting an ethylene cracker near Hahnville, La., by yearend 2012.

• Improving ethane feedstock flexibility for an ethylene cracker in Plaquemine, La. in 2015.

• Building a propylene plant at Dow’s Texas operations for start-up in 2015 (OGJ Online, July 29, 2013; July 1, 2013; Apr. 30, 2012).

The Taft 2 ethylene plant near Hahnville, La., resumed production of on-spec ethylene on Dec. 25, 2012 (OGJ Online, Jan. 14, 2013).

“Once fully operational, our Gulf Coast investments are projected to deliver an estimated $2.5 billion in EBITDA and will serve as a solid base for long-term growth while further strengthening Dow’s market competitiveness,” Fitterling added.

In April 2012, Dow Chemical said the lower price outlook for US gas was instrumental to the company’s decision to invest $4 billion to expand its overall US Gulf Coast ethylene and propylene production capabilities (OGJ Online, Apr. 30, 2012).

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