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Dow Nearly Finished With Houston-Area Ethylene Plant

Dow Chemical's new ethane cracker near Houston is expected to begin operating in the middle of this year — months ahead of similar projects from rivals Chevron Phillips and Exxon Mobil.

Dow Chemical's new ethane cracker near Houston is expected to begin operating in the middle of this year — months ahead of similar projects from rivals Chevron Phillips and Exxon Mobil.

The Houston Chronicle last week detailed progress on Dow's $6 billion expansion at its complex in Freeport, Texas.

The ethane cracker — the largest component of the project — is expected to be online this summer, while the Chevron Phillips and Exxon Mobil projects, located about 75 miles away in Baytown, will debut late this year or early next year.

Dow's plant will be able to produce some 1.5 million tons of ethylene each year and bolster its capacity to produce plastics, namely polyethylene and propylene.

CEO Andrew Liveris also indicated that Dow has plans for further expansion in Texas, where it currently employs more than 6,000 in the Houston area.

"We ain't done yet, as Texans say," Liveris told attendees at a Houston conference last week.

Liveris added that the expanded plant will not be dramatically impacted by the pending merger between Dow and DuPont.

The merged chemical behemoth plans to split into three separate, publicly traded companies within two years, and the new materials science company would retain the Dow name.

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