Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. is nearly done with the massive 1.5 million tons per year ethylene plant construction at south of Houston in Freeport, and commissioning has already begun at the facility, Doug May, Dow's hydrocarbon business president, said.
The company expects the plant to enter service sometime around the middle of the year, May said. The plant is part of a series of projects called the Gulfstream Program, which includes more than $6 billion in petrochemical assets across Texas and Louisiana.
May said that the hub of it all is this large, world-scale ethylene cracker (in Freeport). The unit has been built with the capacity for expansion, something that could be an opportunity for further growth beyond the initial Gulfstream Program.
In fact, May said that the company's growth could well be built around debottlenecking and expanding its existing assets to grab another million tons or so of capacity on its polyethylene system in the next five to seven years.
The project will use feedstock ethane and propane sourced from within the U.S., and the ethylene it will produce is meant to travel further into the Dow system to become finished products before supplying markets in North and South America.
The ethylene plant will provide ongoing employment for a couple hundred people, most of whom have already been hired. They are the ones who are carrying out the commission work right now.
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