MIDLAND, Mich. (Feb. 21) — Dow Polyurethanes will idle its methylene diphenyl diisocyanate production plant in Estarreja, Portugal, for a month to handle routine maintenance.
The four-week turnaround is slated to begin in late February and will involve equipment repairs and replacements, reactor inspections, and process adjustments, according to the Dow Chemical Co. business.
"While the MDI market in Europe is currently balanced, industry-wide periodic shutdowns put pressure on supply," said Steven English, business director for Dow Isocyanates, a business unit within Dow Polyurethanes. "Therefore, we build stock in advance of those turnarounds to meet customer needs. We have been preparing for this turnaround for several months and, as a result, we are well-positioned to continue to deliver MDI to out customers without disruption."
Current MDI capacity at the Portugal site represents about 20 percent of Dow's global MDI output. In September 2006, Dow also said it will expand MDI production at the facility, with completion of the project expected in 2009.
In late January, Dow also said it plans to expand production at its Freeport, Texas, MDI facility by 50 percent over the next 36 months.
The Freeport expansion will be executed in two stages, with the first half of increased capacity expected to be available in early 2008. When completed, the increase will account for an additional 250 million pounds of name-plate capacity per year of MDI manufactured at the Freeport site.
The added capacity at both plants will help match global demand for MDI, which is used to make polyurethanes for a diverse range of applications, including construction, appliance, adhesives and sealants, the company said.