Methanex to restart New Zealand plant following new gas supply deal

06 March 2013 10:14  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Methanex is to restart its Waitara Valley, New Zealand methanol plant following the agreement of a new natural gas supply deal, the Canada-based methanol producer said late on Tuesday.

The facility, which has been idle since late 2008, is set to resume operations by the third quarter of the year, adding 500,000 tonnes of annual production capacity.

The company is also to add 200,000 tonnes/year capacity at its Motunui site in the country by increasing distillation, bringing its total annual production capacity in New Zealand to 2.2m tonnes by the end of the year.

The combined cost of expanding production at Motunui and restarting the Waitara facility is expected to be around $65m (€50m), the company added.

Methanex CEO John Floren said: “With a modest capital expenditure we are adding 700,000 tonnes of additional production, which is expected to create significant value for shareholders. This added production also enhances our reliable and quality supply capability to our customers in the fast-growing Asian markets."

The anticipated resumption of operations in Waitara marks Methanex’s latest move to scale up production in New Zealand as a result of improving natural gas supplies in the country. The company restarted the second plant at its Motunui site in mid-2012.

As of 2011, the company had a total of 1.38m tonnes/year of idled capacity in the country.

"With the new natural gas supply agreement, combined with the other secured natural gas supply agreements, we now have arrangements in place to underpin production at our three-plant operation in New Zealand for years to come,” Floren added.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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