Mothballed US LyondellBasell methanol plant up for sale - sources

06 October 2011 22:56  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Dutch company LyondellBasell wants to sell a mothballed methanol plant in Texas, sources said on Thursday.

Methanol sources said the company is actively marketing the former 750,000 tonne/year methanol unit in Channelview. A spokesman for LyondellBasell would not comment.

Channelview is eight miles east of downtown Houston.

LyondellBasell closed the methanol unit in March 2003 because of the then-high cost of natural gas, the main feedstock for North American methanol producers.

Natural gas prices in early 2003 rose above $7/MMBtu and by the end of 2005 had jumped above $15/MMBtu, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

But natural gas prices have dropped considerably in the US and Canada since then, closing on Thursday at $3.59/MMBtu.

Lower natural gas prices in North America have prompted the restart of at least two North American plants at a fraction of the cost of building new units.

Methanex reopened a mothballed methanol plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, earlier this year at a cost of $40m (€30m).

By comparison, a methanol plant in Damietta, Egypt, which is 60% owned by Methanex, cost over $800m to build.

Another closed plant, in Beaumont, Texas, was purchased in May by a joint venture between Egypt-based OCI Nitrogen and methanol operator Deo Van Wijk’s Pandora Methanol, for $65m.

($1 = €0.75)

For more on methanol, visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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