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NEWS UPDATES 2 August 2010

Dow may invest in Thailand

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Dow Chemical may invest up to US$150 million for downstream production of propylene oxide (PO) according to Gerard van Harten, vice-president for manufacturing and engineering in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Dow's PO joint venture with the Siam Cement Group (SCG) is among the 76 projects in the Map Ta Phut development that the Central Administrative Court ordered suspended last September. The project will be the largest of its kind in the world once completed, with annual capacity of 390,000 tonnes.

PO is among the largest-volume chemical intermediates produced in the world, with annual demand in excess of 6.5 million tonnes. It is widely used for industrial and commercial products such as polyurethane and propylene glycol, as well as in automobiles, furniture, paint, personal-care products and home insulation.

Holger Bar, Dow's global technology director, said the company would make a final decision by next year. If the project proceeds, it will be operational within three to five years.

A total of 76 projects were suspended by the Thai courts upheld a complaint by local citizens and environmental groups that the proper environmental review had not been conducted. Mr. van Harten said challenges to the projects in Map Ta Phut should serve as a warning to chemical companies to team up to comply with required standards, to strengthen and stabilise the industry.

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