05 May 2008 21:29 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Methanex announced on Monday an agreement with Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) to speed up the exploration and production of natural gas from a block in southern Chile, part of the Canadian methanol producer’s strategy to source domestic gas supplies for its world-scale production site near Punta Arenas.
Methanex will invest $100m (€65m) in capital with the Chilean state-owned oil and natural gas company and hold a 50% participation in the Dorado Riquelme block, the company said in a statement.
The block could begin natural gas deliveries later this year and has the potential to be a significant new feedstock source for Methanex’s 3.8m tonne/year methanol complex, according to the statement.
“I am very pleased to announce this agreement with ENAP, which represents an important step in returning our assets in Chile back to full operating rates,” said Bruce Aitken, Methanex chief executive.
The Chilean methanol complex has been running at reduced rates since Argentine natural gas exports to the site were halted last year.
Argentina previously supplied about 60% of the site’s natural gas needs, but Methanex has conceded that exports are unlikely to resume, an industry analyst said.
($1 = €0.65)
For more on Methanex's plants near Punta Arenas in Chile, visit ICIS plants and projects
For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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