Dow Chemical Co. began producing on-spec ethylene in late December at its St. Charles Olefins 2 Plant near Hahnville, LA, the company said. “The start-up of our St. Charles ethylene plant represents the first major milestone within our U.S. Gulf Coast investment strategy,” said Brian Ames, president, of Dow’s olefins, aromatics and alternatives business. “This action further reduces the company’s purchased ethylene, lowering costs and strengthening the competitiveness of our high-margin, high-growth derivatives businesses.” Restart of the plant had been previously announced and is part of the company’s plan to further connect its U.S. operations with cost-advantaged feedstocks from U.S. shale gas (see Shale Daily, Dec. 13, 2012). “Plans to increase ethylene and propylene supply and ethane cracking capabilities at existing U.S. Gulf Coast facilities strengthen the competitiveness of Dow’s performance plastics, performance products and advanced materials businesses and enable profitable growth in the Americas,” the company said. The St. Charles plant was idled in January 2009 and is now expected to deliver a $150 million increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year.
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