Petrochemicals: Methanex begins restart of Alberta methanol plant

18 April 2011 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Methanol producer cites low price for starting up plant closed down 10 years ago

Major Canadian methanol producer Methanex has confirmed that it is restarting a shuttered plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

City official, Keith Crush, Medicine Hat's business-development officer, reported on April 7 that approximately 80 employees had been coming to work at the plant since the previous week.

TESTING STARTS

"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."

Methanex 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 to a low enough level to restart its plant in Medicine Hat - idled since 2001 - at a cost of $40m (€28m).

TWO UNITS

Methanex has two units at Medicine Hat, and will only 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.


By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653



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