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Huntsman May Expand U.S. Plant on Shale Gas Boost

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Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Huntsman Corp., the biggest maker of textile dyes, said it commissioned studies into expanding a Louisiana plant to satisfy rising demand for foam insulation and to take advantage of cheaper natural-gas supplies.

The company is mulling “several” options for the expansion of its Geismar plant to boost the output of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, the Salt Lake City-based company said today in a statement. The chemical compound is used to produce polyurethane foams.

“With the benefits of U.S. shale gas, the economics of investing in our U.S. facilities has improved significantly,” Anthony P. Hankins, president of Huntsman Polyurethanes, said in the statement.

An increasing volume of gas extracted from shale rock has pushed prices down this year to the lowest in a decade. Cheaper gas is doubly advantageous for chemical makers because they use it for energy and as a raw material. Huntsman Chief Executive Officer Peter Huntsman said in May the company plans to increase production of ethylene and other related chemicals in Texas because of cheaper gas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Casey in New York at scasey4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net