US-based Celanese and Japan-based Mitsui
have established a 50:50 joint venture for the production
of methanol at Celanese's integrated chemical plant in Clear
Lake, Texas, the companies said Wednesday.
Clear Lake is located about 30 miles southeast of Houston.
The planned methanol unit will utilize abundant,
low-cost natural gas in the US Gulf Coast region as a feedstock and will benefit from the
existing infrastructure at Celanese's Clear Lake
facility, officials said.
As a result, the total shared capital and expense investment in
the facility is estimated to be approximately $800 million.
Celanese's portion of the investment is estimated to be
approximately $300 million, in addition to previously-invested
assets at the Celanese Clear Lake facility.
"We are excited to expand our Clear Lake operations to include
the strategic upstream production of methanol," said Mark
Rohr, CEO of Celanese. The attractive economics of natural
gas in the US Gulf Coast region, combined with our existing
infrastructure and an outstanding strategic partner in Mitsui,
provides Celanese with this unique growth opportunity."
The planned methanol facility will have an annual
capacity of 1.3 million tons and is expected to begin
operations in mid-2015.
"We are very pleased to have Celanese as a strategic joint
venture partner for the US methanol project," said Masami Iijima,
CEO of Mitsui.
"Mitsui will be able to generate additional value in the gas
product chain starting from our shale gas reserve we possess in
the US to methanol with Celanese's capabilities
in manufacturing, operations and safety," he added. "This
partnership should be long-term and be expanded towards further
joint projects in the future."