The plant, which has been idle since 2004, is expected to begin production in mid-2012. It is expected to add up to 650,000 tonnes of incremental capacity per year.
Methanex has signed a 10-year agreement with New Zealand-based Todd Energy to supply natural gas for up to half of the 1.5 million tonnes of annual capacity at the Motunui site.
Bruce Aitken, president and CEO of Methanex, said: “We are very pleased to have entered into a long-term gas supply agreement with Todd Energy. This agreement underpins higher production and provides for a long-term gas supply to our operations in New Zealand. The quantity of gas supply under this contract potentially allows us to produce about 7.5 million tonnes of methanol over the next 10 years, representing multi-billion dollars of revenues.”
In addition, the company is planning to move one of its idle methanol plants in Chile to Geismar, Louisiana. Site-specific engineering has begun and the plant is expected to be operational in the second half of 2014.
Mr Aitken said: “The outlook for low North American natural gas prices makes Louisiana an attractive location in which to produce methanol. It is also a large methanol-consuming region, possesses world-class infrastructure, skilled workers and is a positive environment in which to do business. We have a number of parallel work paths ongoing and expect to make a final investment decision on this project in the third quarter of this year.”
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