LyondellBasell Texas methanol plant restart to cost $150m

27 July 2012 19:33  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell expects to restart a Texas methanol unit next year for $150m (€122m), the chemical producer’s top executive said on Friday.

Chief executive Jim Gallogly said during the company's second-quarter earnings conference call that the company expected to restart the 780,000 tonnes/year unit in Channelview in the second half of 2013.

Based on current natural gas prices, the restart of the plant would yield around $200m/year for the company, Gallogly said.

LyondellBasell has not yet received environmental permits for the restart, Gallogly added.

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.

The proposed restart follows a new pattern in North American methanol. The US and Canada have become a magnet for methanol projects in the past two years, mostly because of the shale gas revolution and its promise of cheap natural gas feedstock.

If the LyondellBasell restart goes through as planned, there would be 2m tonnes/year of new methanol capacity added in North America in the 2011-13 period.

Earlier this month, a subsidiary of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) restarted a plant in Beaumont, Texas, with annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes year. In April 2011, Methanex restarted a plant in Medicine Hat, Alberta, with 470,000 tonnes/year capacity.

And this week, Methanex announced another North American methanol project, with the company set to begin moving one of its idled methanol plants in Chile - with capacity of 1m tonnes/year - to Geismar, Louisiana early next year. Methanex also is studying whether to move another plant from Chile to North America.

($1 = €0.81)

Additional material from Michelle Klump


By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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