Canada's Methanex methanol plant in Egypt still off line

18 February 2011 11:36  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Canadian methanol producer Methanex has yet to restart its plant at Damietta, Egypt, after political unrest in the country prompted the withdrawal of its foreign nationals, a source with the company said on Friday.

“Our experts are still not back in the country, but we reassess daily. For the moment there’s still no activity but we are looking at the situation very closely,” the source said.

The plant, which has a capacity of 1.3m tonnes/year, has yet to produce any methanol on a commercial scale, despite being originally slated to begin production in early 2010.

Following a series a setbacks throughout 2010 Methanex announced in January 2011 that the plant had been started and it expected to load the first shipments before the end of the first quarter.

However, progress was halted following the political turmoil which has gripped Egypt for several weeks, and the source was unable to give an indication of when material from the plant could be expected.

The plant is run by the Egyptian Methanex Methanol Company, or EMethanex, a joint venture in which Methanex holds a 60% stake, with the remainder held by Egyptian government partners.

Methanex’s plans to restart its methanol unit at Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada, were on track, the source said. The 470,000 tonne/year plant was expected to be on line by April this year.

The facility was shut down in 2001 after high natural gas prices made methanol production uneconomical in North America.

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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