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.
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
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