25 June 2012 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Project will be based in Clear Lake, Texas, and provide feedstock for acetic acid production
Celanese plans to build a 1.3m tonne/year methanol plant at its acetyls complex in Clear Lake, Texas, US. The US producer said the project, which will provide feedstock for its acetic acid production, will take advantage of abundant and affordable natural gas supplies in the country.
"The positive developments in the US energy complex and the current and emerging natural gas surplus make it advantageous for us to produce our own methanol requirements for US acetyl production," said Mark Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer. "Utilizing existing Celanese infrastructure helps reduce capital requirements while capturing advantages of state-of-the-art technologies."
The company currently sources methanol feedstock for its Clear Lake acetic acid facility from US-based Southern Chemical Corp, which markets the production from Methanol Holdings (Trinidad). Celanese has the capacity to produce about 1.2m tonnes/year of acetic acid at the site.
The new methanol plant is expected to start up after July 1, 2015. A significant portion of the output will be used to support Celanese's operations, and the company expects to partner one or more parties interested in the remaining methanol. "Talks with partners are progressing," said a Celanese spokeswoman.
Celanese also produces vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) at Clear Lake and is finalizing construction of a development unit for its TCX ethanol technology at the site. The ethanol technology development unit is expected to be operational in mid-2012.
Celanese is one of several companies investing in chemical production in North America to take advantage of inexpensive US gas. Methanex, the world's largest methanol producer, plans to relocate an idled methanol plant from Chile to Louisiana, and some 8.9m tonnes/year of new ethylene capacity is expected to start up in the US by 2017. ExxonMobil is the latest company to announce a new cracker in the country.
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