Dow St. Charles restarting shuttered operation

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2011



HAHNVILLE – A Dow chemical plant that was shut down in 2009 and scheduled for demolition will now be reopened by the end of 2012, according to a spokesman for the company.

The company recently announced a refurbishment at the facility that involves a restart of two olefin units operated by Dow St. Charles. Tommy Faucheux, public affairs manager for Dow St. Charles, said the $250 million project will bring more than 50 permanent jobs and several hundred construction jobs to St. Charles parish.

Faucheux said the Hahnville facility, which uses hydrocarbon-based products like natural gas to create ethylene, was one of the original pieces on the Dow St. Charles site. He said the unit was built in the late 1960s and had gone through a series of refurbishments before the company decided to shut it down in 2009.

“It was going to be disassembled and never used again,” Faucheux said. “The company decided earlier this year that they would restart it. It brings new life and new jobs to the area.”

Faucheux explained the olefin plants are an important element of all of Dow’s operations in the parish. He said the ethylene produced by the units goes into other production units at the site to make chemicals used in various plastics.

“We are reinvesting in what we already have to help us in the long run to stabilize our long-term presence,” he said. “The company is also getting ready to spend several million dollars to update its other olefin plant with new technology to make it competitive for the long-term.”

Faucheux said Dow expects to increase hiring in the region fairly quickly. He also said there would be an increase in community investment, starting with a recent $870,000 donation to St. Charles Parish for construction of the parish’s new Emergency Operations Center building in Hahnville.

“We are expecting to have at least 40 new jobs at the site by the end of the year,” Faucheux said. “The construction jobs will roll in after that, which brings an added benefit to the community. It’s good for Dow, but it is also great for the parish.”