Methanex lifts methanol capacity at plants in Chile, Canada, New Zealand

Methanex has reached a number of key milestones with respect to its near-term capacity growth objectives in New Zealand, Canada and Chile, the company announced on Monday.

On October 4, Methanex successfully produced its first methanol from the newly-restarted 500,000 tpy plant in Waitara Valley, New Zealand.

In September, meanwhile, Methanex also restarted an idle distillation unit which will debottleneck methanol production capacity at the Motunui, New Zealand site. These two initiatives will enable Methanex to increase its total annual operating capacity in New Zealand by up to 900,000 tpy, depending on natural gas composition.

Also in September, Methanex began production from the distillation capacity it has added at its facility in Medicine Hat, Alberta. The new unit adds 100,000 tpy of operating capacity at the site.

"We are excited to be restarting our Waitara plant and to have completed our distillation capacity initiatives in New Zealand and Medicine Hat," said John Floren, CEO of Methanex. These initiatives represent important milestones in reaching our growth objectives.

"This new operating capacity, combined with our two 1 million tonne plant relocations from Chile to Geismar, Louisiana, will allow us to increase our operating capacity by up to 3 million tonnes to a total of 8 million tonnes by 2016," Mr. Floren added. "The projects have been completed on schedule and on budget, thanks to many months of hard work by our tams in New Zealand and Canada."

Methanex has also restarted its 900,000 tpy Chile I plant. 

"We expect the restarted Chile plant to produce methanol at a higher average daily rate than we achieved in the first quarter of 2013, supported by gas supplies from both Chile and Argentina through a tolling arrangement," said Floren. "We have a first class team in Chile and they have worked hard over the past months on this Chile re-start project, while at the same time progressing the relocation of two Chilean plants to Geismar."

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