30 September 2013 22:40 [Source: ICIS news]
MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Methanex has restarted operations at one of its two plants in Punta Arenas, southern Chile, after production was idled at the end of April this year, the Canadian-listed methanol producer said on Monday.
Operations had been halted as a result of an insufficient supply of natural gas feedstock from Chile and Argentina during the southern hemisphere’s winter months. The company’s other plant at the Punta Arenas site remains off line.
“We restarted our Chile I plant in September,” said Methanex communications manager Baljit Lalli. “We do not have a date for the restart of Chile IV.”
Disruption to feedstock supply has already forced the company to relocate two of its four Punta Arena plants to Geismar, Louisiana. Operations at the relocated Chile II and Chile III plants are expected to begin at the end of 2014 and at the start of 2016, respectively.
In a recent statement, the company said that the future of its remaining plants at Punta Arena rest on the level of exploration and development in the southern parts of the country, and its ability to secure a sustainable supply of natural gas from Chile and Argentina.
According to Lalli, a significant amount of upstream activity is being carried out in southern Chile, including an ongoing evaluation of the region’s shale reserves.
However, the company remains cautious on whether this activity will have an impact on future gas deliveries.
“The potential and economic viability of these upstream activities is uncertain, and the timing of when they could translate into gas supply is not defined,” Lalli said.
“We expect to learn more about the potential long term reserves over the coming months,” she added.
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