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Methanex moving idled plant to Lousiana

Relocation announcement comes after the U.S. price for natural gas hit a 10-year low.


January 18, 2012
by The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER—Methanex Corp. is moving one of its idle plants from Chile to Louisiana to take advantage of low North American prices for natural gas, which is used to produce methanol.

The announcement came late Tuesday, shortly after the U.S. price for natural gas—also used as a fuel to heat homes and power plants—hit a 10-year low. The fuel is also a feedstock for producing chemicals and fertilizers.

“The outlook for low North American natural gas prices makes Louisiana an attractive location in which to produce methanol,” said Methanex CEO Bruce Aitken. “It is also a large methanol-consuming region, possesses world-class infrastructure, skilled workers and is a positive environment in which to do business.”

Aitken said there is strong demand for methanol globally and little production capacity being added to the industry in the next few years. The relocated plant in Geismar, La., is expected to be operational in the second half of 2014.

Methanex is also restarting a methanol plant in New Zealand that has been idle since 2004.

The restart will cost US$60 million and expected to add 650,000 tonnes of capacity per year, with production expected to resume in mid-2012.