Dow starts production in new world-scale ethylene, ELITE polyethylene units

Operations have begun in the new integrated world-scale ethylene production facility and its new ELITE enhanced polyethylene production facility by DowDuPont Materials Science, the business division of DowDuPont to be named Dow.

These two key milestones, located in Freeport, Texas in the US, enable Dow to capture benefits from increasing supplies of US shale gas to deliver differentiated downstream solutions in its core market verticals.

Both units will continue to ramp up through the third quarter and are expected to reach full rates in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“This is a monumental moment for Dow as we advance our global growth strategy by fully deploying our unmatched molecular and physical integration,” said Andrew Liveris, executive chairman of DowDuPont, and chairman and CEO of Dow. “These facilities are an integral part of Dow’s investments on the US Gulf Coast to meet increasing consumer-led demand in our core market verticals of packaging, infrastructure and consumer care, and will enable our next level of earnings and cash flow growth.”

A central component of Dow’s US Gulf Coast investments, the ethylene production facility has an initial nameplate capacity of 1.5 million metric tons. As part of Dow’s next wave of growth investments, the unit will be expanded to 2 million metric tons, making it the world’s largest ethylene facility. Measured by total investment per metric ton of capacity, this new ethylene unit represents the least capital-intensive ethylene investment in the region.

The 400,000 metric ton ELITE polyethylene production unit is the first of four new derivative units at Dow’s manufacturing sites in Texas and Louisiana. Dow’s ELITE enhanced polyethylene resins are known for their versatility and high performance attributes and are used in multiple types of flexible food and industrial packaging applications.

“As we ramp these units to full production, we continue to solidify our early-mover advantage while significantly increasing our integration and growing our US production capacity,” said Jim Fitterling, chief operating officer for DowDuPont Materials Science. “Dow’s new ethylene facility provides a solid, capital-efficient base in this attractive, feedstock-advantaged region, which will continue to fuel the industry’s broadest and most differentiated derivatives slate.”

In addition to supporting Dow’s near-term capacity additions, the ethylene facility will also support further planned debottlenecks to unlock additional polyethylene capacity as well as a new world-scale polyethylene unit as part of the Company’s comprehensive growth investments. The remaining derivative assets to come online in the U.S. Gulf Coast include:

  • New specialty low density polyethylene (capacity: 350 KTA) for industrial and supply chain packaging applications, expected to startup later this year;
  • Next generation NORDEL metallocene EPDM (capacity: 200 KTA) to deliver solutions for higher-margin applications for infrastructure and consumer durables end-markets, expected to startup in early 2018;
  • Bi-modal gas phase de-bottleneck (125 KTA) to enable more offerings for high-performance pipe and fitting applications, as well as the cap and closure market, to follow later in 2018;
  • High Melt Index Specialty and Conventional Polyolefin Elastomers (capacity: 320 KTA) for high-performance flexible packaging end-markets, expected to come online in late 2018;
  • World-scale polyethylene unit based on Dow’s proprietary Solution Process technology (capacity: 600 KTA) to meet demand in food and specialty packaging, expected to come online by 2022.
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