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Shale Gas And Buffett's Billions Fuel Turnaround At Dow Chemical

posted Oct 16, 2014, 1:28 AM by Chimanlal Maganlal & Co.   [ updated Oct 16, 2014, 1:28 AM ]
Dow Chemical’s 7,000-acre complex on the Gulf Coast in Freeport, Tex., at the mouth of the Brazos River, is a sprawling monument to the shale gas revolution. The bustling site, surrounded by marshland and waterways, is crowned by a 360-foot propane dehydrogenization tower, which is crawling with construction workers and next year will start converting cheap propane from fracked natural gas wells into hundreds of thousands of tons a year of raw materials for everything from house paint to automotive epoxy.

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Then came the shale boom, and suddenly petrochemicals were back in style. Dow shares have risen eightfold from their 2009 lows to a recent $50 per share, and now Liveris is pumping $5 billion into the company’s Gulf Coast petrochemicals operation.

“Things change,” says Liveris, 60, the son of Greek immigrants who speaks with the Australian accent of his youth and enjoys the occasional bottle of Mollydooker Shiraz blend. “We pivoted very fast.”