MIDLAND, Mich. (Oct. 23)—Dow Chemical Co. has cancelled plans to expand capacity of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate at its La Porte, Texas, facility and instead will close the plant by 2005. Dow is continuing, however, to build a 227,000 ton-per-year MDI plant in Freeport, Texas, and expand capacity for the polyurethane feedstock material at a site in Stade, Germany. "After carefully considering all options, we determined that Texas operations would be the preferred location for Dow to build a new MDI plant rather than reinvest in the existing MDI plant at the La Porte site," said David Fischer, global vice president of Dow's polyurethanes business. In August 2000, Dow said it would invest $325 million to build the Freeport facility and upgrade capacity at La Porte. Dow's current global MDI capacity is estimated at around 408,000 tons. Stade is being expanded to 190,000 tons from 128,000. The decision to close the La Porte unit marks Dow's second retreat from its PU chemical expansion plans this year, both because of prevailing economic conditions. In March, the company shelved a project to build a world-scale propylene oxide/styrene monomer plant in the U.S.