OCI plans to build largest US methanol plant

OCI plans to build a new greenfield world-scale methanol plant in Beaumont, Texas, the company announced on Thursday.

The plant is expected to have a capacity of up to 5,000 tpd, equivalent to approximately 1.75 million tpy. It is expected to start production in late 2016. 

It will be the first methanol facility of this scale in the US and will be the country’s largest methanol production facility based on nameplate capacity.

The project will use novel methanol technology and will incorporate best available environmental control technology, according to the company. OCI subsidiary Natgasoline LLC submitted applications for environmental approvals at both state and federal levels in February 2013. 

The plant will take up a portion of a 514-acre plot of land recently acquired by OCI.

The project has been awarded a grant of $ 2.1 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, as well as incentive commitments from local entities, including the city of Beaumont, Jefferson County, the Beaumont Independent School District, the Port of Beaumont and the Sabine-Neches Navigation District. 

The Texas Enterprise Fund is a cash grant used as a financial incentive tool for projects that offer significant projected job creation and capital investment and where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option. OCI estimates that the new Beaumont project will create approximately 3,000 construction jobs over the next three years and has committed to create 240 permanent jobs.

“Following the success of OCI Beaumont’s facility, OCI is pleased to have selected the State of Texas once again to expand its North American methanol activities," said OCI chief executive Nassef Sawiris. 

This is OCI's third natural gas monetization project in the US following the refurbishment of OCI Beaumont’s integrated methanol and ammonia facility and the construction of a $1.8 billion nitrogen fertilizer complex in Wever, Iowa.

"We believe that the prospects for the US methanol industry will remain positive for the foreseeable future because of growing US and global demand, continued access to attractively priced natural gas feedstock and the United States’ current position as a net importer," Sawiris said.

OCI said its construction group will be involved in the construction of the plant, creating job opportunities in Texas and facilitating the completion of the project on schedule.

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