Methanex to maintain ops at NZ methanol plant on gas supply deals

28 January 2011 10:17  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Methanex’s current natural gas contracts would allow the firm to continue to operate its 900,000 tonne/year methanol plant in Motunui, New Zealand, through 2011 and 2012, a company official from the Canada-based producer said on Friday.

The firm currently has 1.4m tonnes/year of idled capacity in New Zealand, including a second 900,000 tonne/year plant in Motunui and a 500,000 tonne/year unit in Waitara Valley, the official told ICIS.

These facilities give Methanex the potential to increase its production in New Zealand, depending on methanol supply and demand dynamics and the availability of economically priced natural gas feedstock, the official said.

Meanwhile, the firm has started production at its 1.3m tonne/year EMethanex methanol facility in Damietta, Egypt, and is close to commissioning it, the official said.

Production was expected to be ramped up and the company expects to ship methanol from the plant before the end of the first quarter of this year.

Methanex owns 60% of the facility in Egypt and would be marketing all of the methanol produced from the unit, the official told ICIS.

“I am delighted to report that the Egypt project produced first methanol last week and that the restart of our plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, is on track for early in the second quarter of 2011,” Methanex president and CEO Bruce Aitken said in an earnings report on 27 January.

“With the addition of these two production sites, we are well positioned to increase our production and earnings capability this year,” Aitken added.

The company on Thursday said its net income in 2010 surged to $101.7m (€74.2m), versus $700,000 in 2009, while its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 88% to $266.7m.

Methanex is currently working on the restart of its 470,000 tonne/year methanol plant in Medicine Hat in Canada, which was scheduled to commence operations in April.

($1 = €0.73)

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By: Heng Hui
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