Dow to Build New Chemical Plant in Louisiana

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Dow Chemical Company plans to close its South Charleston Alkyl Alkanolamines plant in the next two to three years and move production to a new facility in Louisiana.

The new Specialty Alkanolamines plant is scheduled to open in Plaquemine, La., in early 2007. It will replace both the South Charleston plant and production at the company's operations in Midland, Mich., Dow said Tuesday.

"I am confident that the employees in the South Charleston Alkyl Alkanolamines plant will deliver the needed operations over the next two to three years to safely and efficiently close this plant," said Allen Fowler, vice president of West Virginia Operations.

"With the amount of lead time between this announcement and the actual shutdown of the plant, we will make every effort to find redeployment opportunities for impacted employees."

About 20 to 30 employees work at the South Charleston facility or provide support for it. Company officials do not know how many will be affected by the plant's closure, said Nikki Smith, a spokeswoman with Dow's West Virginia Operations.

Dow said the new plant in Plaquemine will have "extensive product-mix flexibility" to meet changing market demands.

"Plaquemine offers Dow an efficient capital investment opportunity due to the on-site production of key raw materials - ethylene oxide and propylene oxide," said Kevin Dillan, global business director for Dow Amines. "This facility will enable us to serve the broader global market due to its economy of scale and flexibility."