MIDLAND, Mich.—Dow Chemical Co. signed two agreements to advance its investments in Saudi Arabia, putting more than $100 million in a new polymer facility.
The first agreement is to construct a new waterborne polymer facility to produce coatings emulsion polymers plus polyacrylate dispersant polymers for water treatment and consumer applications. The second is a memorandum of understanding for a feasibility study related to a proposed investment in Dow's Performance Chemicals franchise. Andrew Liveris, Dow chairman and CEO, signed the agreements at an event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Located in the PlasChem Park in Jubail, the coatings facility will service the needs of the Saudi Arabian market with a range of acrylic-based polymers for industrial and architectural coatings and water-treatment and detergent applications. Production is tentatively being planned by 2022, though actual timing will be determined by potential synergies with other construction projects, said a spokeswoman.
The investment will create about 1,000 jobs during peak construction and about 100 high-skilled, full-time operations jobs, according to a statement. The new coatings facility will complement Dow's existing coatings capabilities in the Middle East, which include an existing facility at Jebel Ali, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The memorandum of understanding for a proposed investment in silicones is still in the preliminary stages, and defining capital requirements would be premature, the spokeswoman said.
"But our strategy is to first start with high technology finishing units, which are smaller and more capital-efficient to build. These would be focused on our key downstream markets," she said.
The memorandum's feasibility study will determine the start-up timeframe, and Dow intends to move aggressively through the various stages of the product, the spokeswoman said.
The proposed silicones investment will include constructing a fully-integrated siloxanes and high-performance silicones complex geared toward markets and industries such as home and personal care, automotive, high-performance building and construction, solar energy, medical devices, and oil and gas. When complete, the complex will support the economic impact of Saudi Arabia through the creation of about 350 full-time, technology-skilled jobs.
The project ideally will be located near the fast-growing emerging markets of Africa, the Middle East, India and Turkey. The proximity will enable faster and more customized solutions for regional-specific applications, the spokeswoman said.
"Personal care is another highly localized market that will benefit from Dow's silicone-based, and new hybrid silicone solutions," she said. "Hair texture, skin tone and other personal care needs in this part of the world demand highly customized solutions. Being close to the market, and our key customers, will enable us to develop new hybrid molecules that combine organic and inorganic chemistries, delivering new, high-value, breakthrough solutions to our personal care customers."
The move will serve to further integrate the former Dow Corning silicones business into Dow's worldwide production grid, as part of Dow's long-term strategy in the region. It also maintains individual joint ventures with Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Juffali & Brothers, and Saudi Acrylic Monomer Co. In June 2016, Dow became the first company to receive a trading license from the government of Saudi Arabia, allowing 100 percent ownership in the country's trading sector.
Dow was recently awarded the contract for supply of silicones sealants for the structural glazing façade of the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia, which starts construction late this year and continue through 2018. Upon completion, it will be the tallest building in the world.