Methanex to idle methanol operations in Chile

10 January 2013 23:06  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Methanex plans to idle its methanol operations in Chile in March because it will unlikely have enough feedstock natural gas to operate, the Canada-based company said on Thursday.

Methanex has had chronic problems securing enough natural gas for its Chilean operations. The company has four plants near Punta Arenas, only one of which is still operating.

The company is moving one of the plants to Louisiana and is considering moving a second plant out of Chile. The company could reach a decision on the second plant by the second quarter.

The third plant is idled, and the fourth plant is running at low rates, Methanex said.

That fourth plant has a nameplate capacity of 850,000 tonnes/year, according to ICIS plants and projects.

"Due to continued natural gas supply challenges, we do not expect to have sufficient feedstock to keep our Chile plant operating through the southern hemisphere winter. Our current expectation is that resumption of our plant operation would be possible later in the year," according to a statement by John Floren, Methanex CEO.

For 2013, Methanex expects the fourth plant to contribute less than 5% of its total production, the company said.

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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