By David Reed, UT EditorMidland, Michigan-The Dow Chemical Co.’s polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (PMDI) operations at LaPorte, Texas, will continue in operation while the company’s 227-ktpa facility in Freeport, Texas, continues its start-up process. This could take several months, the company indicated.Dow’s 9 June announcement added that the Force Majeure it had declared for its MDI products in North America has been lifted. However, the company said that an order control is in place for North American MDI due to continued strong demand and limited inventories.”With MDI in such high demand, we are fortunate to have the ability to extend operations at our LaPorte facility, which will enable us to continue to meet the majority of our customers’ needs while Freeport becomes fully operational,” said Chuck Reardon, North American product market manager for polyurethanes at Dow, in a 9 June announcement.”The extension of our LaPorte facility will allow us to counterbalance the slower than expected start-up at Freeport and offer better security of supply moving forward,” noted Reardon. “As we’ve indicated, starting up a plant of this scale is a complex process and we’re working as quickly as practical to complete the start-up process,” said a Dow spokesperson, when asked about the likely timescale of the start-up process. “It is difficult to predict precisely when the ramp-up efforts for the facility will be completed, but we anticipate it will be several months before it will be running fully at designed rates,” the spokesperson added.”However, we anticipate no net increase in capacity, resulting in the need for an order control to help manage product allocation in this sold-out MDI market. Once the new Freeport plant is running at designed rates, we intend to shut-down the LaPorte plant as originally announced,” the Dow statement concluded.”
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