Dow adds more plants to $4B Gulf Coast expansion

Dow Chemical Company will build three new petrochemical facilities on the U.S. Gulf Coast, part of a $4 billion expansion plan inspired by the shale boom.

Dow had previously announced that several components of its $4 billion effort would be located at its site in Freeport, Texas, which is Dow’s largest complex in the Gulf Coast region.

Dow has not specified where its newly announced facilities will be located, but they will use feedstocks produced at a new $1.7 billion ethylene cracker it plans to build in Freeport. The company’s aggressive expansion along the Gulf Coast has been fueled by the shale boom, which CEO Andrew Liveris has credited for leading to Dow’s “big money” investments in the region.

The new “performance plastics” sites will manufacture materials used by businesses in the fields of packaging, hygiene and medical products, electrical and telecommunications products, transportation items, and sports equipment, among other uses.

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In total, Dow plans to add four new performance plastics facilities, including one that it had previously announced. At their peak construction, the sites will employ 3,000 workers, according to a Dow press release published this week.

The company expects its Gulf Coast expansions to generate 35,000 jobs in the broader economy.

Dow also said it had struck a deal to create a joint venture with Japan’s Mitsui and Idemitsu. The Japanese companies plan to build a chemical plant on the U.S. Gulf Coast that willuse ethylene produced by Dow.

The companies would not disclose the full terms of the deal, or the exact location of the planned Linear Alpha Olefins unit.

“Taken on the whole, positive disruptive trends in U.S. shale gas have led us to make different decisions about where and how we invest for global growth,” CEO Liveris said in a statement on the joint venture. “Our comprehensive U.S. Gulf Coast investments will enable our enterprise to deliver higher and more sustainable value from our existing premier U.S. base to supply domestic and global growth.”