Dow Aims to Restart Ethylene Oxide Production in Louisiana Plant in the Coming Year
Dow Aims to Restart Ethylene Oxide Production in Louisiana Plant in the Coming Year

Dow Aims to Restart Ethylene Oxide Production in Louisiana Plant in the Coming Year

  • 26-Oct-2023 6:42 PM
  • Journalist: Harold Finch

Dow is gearing up to recommence the production of ethylene oxide at its Plaquemine, Louisiana facility, following a temporary shutdown in July due to a fire.

The Plaquemine facility boasts an impressive production capacity of 320,000 tons of ethylene oxide annually. However, this production had come to a standstill since mid-July when a fire incident disrupted operations at the site. In the aftermath of the fire, Dow was compelled to declare a force majeure event, which affected the supply of ethylene oxide from this facility. The force majeure declaration is a contractual clause used to excuse a party's non-performance due to unforeseeable circumstances beyond their control.

In addition to ethylene oxide, the Plaquemine plant is a versatile producer of various chemical products, including isopropanolamines, alkylalcanolamines, and polyethylene glycol (PEG). These products find applications across a broad spectrum of industries, from chemicals and petrochemicals to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. The resumption of ethylene oxide production will not only address the disruption in the supply chain but also contribute to meeting the demand for these essential products.

Dow's Plaquemine facility plays a multifaceted role in the chemical industry, manufacturing a wide array of products critical to various sectors. Alongside ethylene oxide, Dow's product portfolio encompasses ethylene, propylene, propylene oxide, propylene glycol, glycol ethers, polyethylene, and surfactants. These products are integral to countless industrial processes, from the production of plastics and polymers to the formulation of detergents and personal care items.

Polyethylene, one of the key products manufactured at the Plaquemine facility, has seen a notable surge in demand. According to ScanPlast's review, the estimated consumption of polyethylene in the first eight months of 2023 reached 2,183.01 thousand tons. This represents a substantial increase of 27% compared to the same period in the previous year. The uptick in polyethylene consumption underscores the importance of resuming ethylene oxide production to support the broader production of polyethylene and meet the growing market demands.

The chemical landscape in the United States features several prominent ethylene oxide producers. In addition to Dow, industry leaders such as BASF, Eastman Chemical, Formosa, Indorama Ventures, Lotte Chemical, LyondellBasell, Sasol, and Shell Chemical actively contribute to the production of ethylene oxide and its derivatives. These companies are pivotal players in the chemical industry, with a significant role in ensuring the availability of crucial raw materials and chemicals to support various sectors of the economy.

The resumption of ethylene oxide production at Dow's Plaquemine facility is not only a testament to the company's commitment to overcoming challenges but also underscores the significance of ethylene oxide as a foundational raw material in the chemical industry. This development aligns with the broader goal of ensuring a stable supply chain and fulfilling the demands of multiple industries, from packaging and textiles to pharmaceuticals and personal care products.

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