USA: Ethylene Production Dow Completes Construction of World-Scale Ethylene Production Facility in Freeport

Editor: Alexander Stark

Dow Chemical announced the completion of the construction phase of its new, world-scale ethylene production facility in Freeport, Texas.

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Dow Chemical announced the completion of its plant in Freeport.
Dow Chemical announced the completion of its plant in Freeport.
(Source: Dow Chemical)

Freeport/USA — The company reached the completion within one week of the originally planned date, which was set approximately two years ago. The ethylene unit is now progressing through the commissioning phase, with start-up expected by mid-year, the company said.

Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chairman and CEO commented: “The Freeport ethylene unit is the cornerstone of our $ 6 billion investment in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Our growth investments leverage the advantaged shale gas supply available in the U.S., and represent thousands of new jobs and significant economic value, including exports of approximately 20 % of our U.S. production.”

At peak activity, the construction phase involved more than 3,000 employees and contractors. The project achieved more than five million consecutive work hours without a lost-time incident. According to the company, the new unit also represents one of the least capital-intensive ethylene investments currently announced across the U.S. Gulf Coast. Jim Fitterling, Dow’s president and chief operating officer said: “Not only does this investment leverage Dow’s early-mover advantage in shale gas, but it will also fuel the industry’s broadest and most differentiated derivatives slate, featuring Dow’s proprietary catalyst and process technologies, to meet growing consumer demand throughout the Americas.”

The world-scale production unit — with a nameplate capacity of 1.5 million metric tons — is a central component of the company's $ 6 billion U.S. Gulf Coast investment program. The plant will feed derivative investments, which will come on-line throughout 2017 and 2018 and include:

  • "Elite" Enhanced Polyethylene for high performance flexible food packaging and personal hygiene applications (capacity: 400 kta);
  • New specialty low density polyethylene for industrial and supply chain packaging applications (capacity: 350 kta);
  • Next Generation "Nordel" metallocene EPDM to deliver solutions for higher-margin applications for the transportation, infrastructure and consumer durables end-markets (capacity: 200 kta );
  • High Melt Index Specialty and Conventional Polyolefin Elastomers for high-performance flexible packaging, transportation and consumer markets (Capacity: 320 kta);
  • Bi-modal gas phase de-bottleneck to enable more offerings for high-performance pipe and fitting applications, as well as the cap and closure market (125 kta).

“The addition of Dow’s TX-9 cracker to our Freeport site is a great milestone. That site now has over 4 million metric tons of olefins capacity to provide low-cost integration strength to our targeted high-growth derivatives,” said Doug May, business president for Hydrocarbons. “This is an important proof point of the Dow team’s ability to deliver the projected cost and schedule performance on a project of this size and sets the tone for how we can execute the commissioning and start-up of the ethylene unit over the next few months.”