Texas unit begins ammonia production, methanol to restart in 2012

22 December 2011 19:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--A plant on the Texas Gulf coast has begun producing ammonia and will resume making methanol early next year, a local official said on Thursday.

The plant in Beaumont began producing ammonia earlier this month, said Jim Rich, president of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce.

The facility’s owner, Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries, said earlier this year that ammonia production at the plant will reach 250,000 tonnes/year and methanol 750,000 tonnes.

Calls to the plant and Orascom were not returned in time for publication. Orascom said in a late November release that ammonia production was restarting within a week.

When methanol production restarts in the first quarter of 2012, the Texas unit will be one of two North American methanol plants to be restarted within a year. Methanex restarted a methanol plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, in April 2011.

County commissioners in Beaumont voted unanimously earlier this week to approve a tax abatement measure for the ammonia/methanol plant, according to county documents.

In May, a group that included backers from Texas, Europe and Egypt bought the mothballed plant from Eastman Chemical, saying they would they would spend $65m (€50m) in acquisition and startup costs.

In November, Orascom Construction Industries said it had acquired full ownership of the plant. The company has been renamed OCI North America.

($1 = €0.77)

For more about ammonia and  methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
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