FD: Dow plans to invest in Terneuzen, the only question is whether it will involve millions or billions

dow aan westerschelde

The Dutch branch of the large chemical concern DowDuPont, Dow Benelux in Terneuzen, has a great opportunity to build a plastics factory. It would involve an investment of a few hundred million euros.

In an interview with the Dutch financial newspaper FD, Dow’s future boss, Jim Fitterling, says the plastics factory is just one of the expansions that Dow has planned for its complexes around the world, with the aim of increasing growth. 

Investing billions

With its investments Dow is able to take big steps. Since 2012, the chemical group has invested $ 6 billion in the American coast off the Gulf of Mexico (Texas and Louisiana). Additionally, Dow took a 35% stake in a joint venture with Saudi Aramco for the construction of the € 20 billion Sadara chemistry complex. Both investments have now been completed. Following the US and Saudi Arabia, Dow plans to make one or more billion-euro investments somewhere ‘down the road’.

It is too early to say where the next big growth opportunity lies says Fitterling. 'But the conditions are favorable energy costs, a good supply of raw materials, and access to the market.'

'Terneuzen has all these things: fantastic logistics, great opportunities for energy and raw materials and excellent access to the global market.'

Raw materials for plastics

There are three huge crackers at Dow in Terneuzen. The furnaces are between forty and sixty meters high and separate the naphtha and LPG molecules to produce ethylene, propylene, benzene and butadiene. These are raw materials for plastic packaging such as foils and for plastics for the manufacture of furniture, sports shoes and car parts. About 85% of the products are sold on the European market.

Faith in Terneuzen

In the period 2015-2019, the concern will already invest some € 500 million in Terneuzen. In 2017 it invested in the production of polyol, a raw material for polyurethane, used in the production of mattresses, furniture, refrigerators and dashboards.


Additionally, a new office, the so-called service center, is now under construction, where all the non-operational staff are housed: management, and service and safety activities for all Dow locations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. As a result of the relocations, a large area has been created for new installations on the actual chemical complex.

Dow Terneuzen as an operational and business location

The new service center will be located in the so-called Maintainance Value-Park, next to the Dow site. The site now employs 2250 factory workers, 150 employees in research and development and eight hundred employees in the service center. And then there are also three hundred job vacancies.
'We have faith in this location', says Liveris. 'We could also have established the service center in India, Hungary or the United Kingdom. This makes Dow Terneuzen an 'operational and business location'.

Business case

The decision concerning the plastics factory is approaching. 'We have the raw material ethylene in Terneuzen', says Fitterling. 'We can set up a factory here that manufactures plastic for the packaging sector. We are looking at the business case and what kinds of plastics we can produce here. '

'Terneuzen has all these things: fantastic logistics, great opportunities for energy and raw materials and excellent access to the global market.'


Read the full article on the FD website (in Dutch)