Methanex begins restart of Alberta methanol plant

07 April 2011 23:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Methanex’s restart of a shuttered methanol plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, has begun, a city official said on Thursday.

Keith Crush, the city's business development officer, said the plant’s approximately 80 employees have been coming to work since last week.

“They’ve got all of their infrastructure in place out there,” Crush said. “They’re starting to run some natural gas to do a little bit of testing.”

A Methanex official at the plant confirmed that the plant was restarting but did not return calls seeking more information.

Methanex, the world’s largest methanol producer, has not produced any methanol in Canada since late 2005, when soaring natural gas prices led the company to shutter its remaining Canadian unit and begin importing methanol to its home country.

But in September 2010, Methanex said that gas prices had dropped low enough to restart its plant in Medicine Hat - idled since 2001 - at a cost of $40m (€28m).

Methanex has two units at Medicine Hat, and will restart the one with 470,000 tonnes/year capacity.

Another source in Medicine Hat said talk around town had the plant beginning a recommissioning schedule by mid-April, although the source believed such timing was too optimistic, considering how long the plant had been shuttered.

($1 = €0.70)

For more on methanol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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