LUBE REPORT

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 VOLUME 9 ISSUE 29  


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July 15, 2009
Vol. 9 Issue 28

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Dow to Close Wilton Plant
By George Gill
 
Dow Chemical plans to close its ethylene oxide and glycol production facility at Wilton, U.K., by the end of January 2010, citing economic impacts from the global recession. The site employs 55 people.
 
The company said it will determine the number of jobs affected by the closure following an employee consultation period.
 
“A comprehensive review of potential options was conducted, which included seeking a buyer for the site and engagement with industry leaders, regional and government groups to identify alternatives to a shut down,” said Malcolm Wilson, site leader for Dow (Wilton) Ltd. “A workable option was not identified.”
 
Lee Christens, global business director for Dow EOEG, said, “potential closure of the plant has become necessary, given the unsustainable business conditions the facility faces.”
 
Several factors contributed to the decision to close the Wilton plant. Demand and profit margins for the site’s outputs, particularly monoethylene glycol, began to soften in early 2008, the company noted in its July 8 announcement. MEG economics have been significantly worsened by the global economic recession, Dow continued, further placing the Wilton site at a disadvantage. Monoethylene glycol is used in the production of antifreezes, coolants, aircraft anti-icer, and deicers and solvents.
 
Ethylene oxide is an intermediate used in production of ethylene glycol and other oxide derivatives such as glycol ethers, polyethylene glycol, polyether polyols, diethylene and triethylene glycols and ethanolamines. Dow said the Wilton plant is the only chemical site in the United Kingdom that produces ethylene oxide.
 
The ongoing recession is expected to prolong difficult global ethylene oxide and glycol industry conditions for several years, Dow said, expediting the need make a decision about the Wilton facility.
 
According to Dow’s web site, ICI built the ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol plant at Wilton in 1969. ICI sold the plant to Union Carbide Ltd. in 1995, and it became Midland, Mich.-based Dow’s plant when the companies merged in 2001.
 
Since 1969, the site has undergone several expansion projects, including construction of a new glycol production plant, uprating its front-end capacity and installation of a distributed control system.

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George Gill, Editor. Lube Report (ISSN 1547-3392) is published by LNG Publishing Co., Inc., 6105-G Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Virginia 22044 USA. Phone: (703) 536-0800. Fax: (703) 536-0803. Website: www.LNGpublishing.com. Email: info@LNGpublishing.com. For advertising information contact Gloria Steinberg Briskin at (800) 474-8654 or (703) 536-7676 or gloria@LNGpublishing.com.
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