MIDLAND, Mich. (June 10)—Dow Chemical Co. will continue to extend production at its polymeric methylene diisocyanate plant in LaPorte, Texas, while the firm's new 500 million-pound PMDI facility in Freeport, Texas, completes its startup process.
Dow also said that the force majeure it had declared for its MDI products in North America has been lifted, although an order control is in place for North American MDI because of continued strong demand and limited inventories.
The company had hoped to have the Freeport plant fully operational in May but the startup has been slower than anticipated. "Once the new Freeport plant is running at designed rates, we intend to shut down the LaPorte plant," said Chuck Reardon, North American product market manager for polyurethanes at Dow.
The plan to close the site and build the Freeport facility was put in place in October 2001. Dow intended to make the moves early in the fourth quarter of 2004. The startup and closing were delayed twice in 2004 and power outages at the LaPorte and Stade, Germany, facilities put Dow in a situation where it had to declare force majeure for MDI products in late 2004.
Dow did not say when the new plant will complete the startup process.