By ALISON SIDER
South Louisiana Methanol said Thursday it plans to spend
more than $1 billion to build what it says is the largest
methanol production plant in North America in St. James Parish,
The $1.3 billion facility will convert 163,000 million
British thermal units of natural
gas into 5,000 tpd of methanol.
Methanol is a chemical used in industrial and consumer
goods, and is a key ingredient in formaldehyde. In its
announcement, South Louisiana Methanol said the plant's output
can be distributed as feedstock for Gulf Coast chemical
producers or exported to foreign markets.
"The technical and capital efficiencies of our plant in St.
James Parish will make us directly competitive with overseas
plants," said Barry Williamson, CEO of South Louisiana
"The conversion of natural
gas to methanol offers natural gas producers an alternative
avenue to LNG
[liquefied natural gas], enabling the creation of products
which are consumed at home on a long-term basis."
The new plant is "emblematic of the reindustrialization of
the US based on low-cost energy feedstocks in the form of natural
gas," said Simmons & Co. International analyst Bill
Herbert. "We'll see more of this going forward in various
Construction on the plant is slated
to begin later this year, with start-up planned for 2016.
South Louisiana Methanol is a joint venture between Zero
Emission Energy Plant Ltd., based in Austin, Texas, and its
financial backer, the Todd Corp., a private company in New
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