Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. announced Monday its plans to build several new, specialty material production units aligned to its high value Performance Plastics franchise on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Dow says the move further connects the company’s U.S. manufacturing operations with cost-advantaged feedstocks available from increasing supplies of shale gas in North America, while also creating thousands of new, high-paying jobs across the country’s manufacturing sector.
The new Performance Plastics facilities are expected to employ up to 3,000 workers at construction peak. Over the next five to seven years, Dow estimates that these projects, together with all other planned projects previously announced as part of the company’s comprehensive U.S. Gulf Coast investment plan, will employ approximately 5,000 workers during peak construction and support over 35,000 jobs in the broader U.S. economy.
“These new facilities will include a wide range of technologies that will produce differentiated, high performance materials for the fastest growing segments in Dow’s existing markets, while providing access to new markets and applications,” said Jim Fitterling, Dow executive vice president. “These investments are also aimed at businesses that have consistently delivered a higher return on capital, which is clearly aligned with our long-term strategy. This, coupled with an enhanced market and value chain focus in our high value Performance Plastics franchise, will deliver faster growth with lower earnings volatility.”
The new facilities are in the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase that will be completed in 2014. These facilities will manufacture materials for several of the Dow's fastest growing market segments, including Packaging; Hygiene and Medical; Electrical and Telecommunications; Transportation, Sports and Leisure and Consumer Durables. The new capacity will be targeted at projected growth in North and South America in addition to select export opportunities over the coming decade. Dow is currently exploring specific location options on the U.S. Gulf Coast, with final investment locations to be determined at a later date, the company stated in a press release.