Netherlands-based OCI N.V said its subsidiary, Natgasoline LLC, will invest more than $1 billion to build a methanol production facility in Beaumont, Texas. The plant, considered the largest methanol facility in the U.S., will convert natural gas into methanol, a key building-block chemical of which the U.S. imports 80 percent of its demand.
The plant, which will create 240 jobs, is expected to have a capacity of producing up to 5,000 metric tons per day, equivalent to approximately 1.75 million metric tons per annum. “It will be the first methanol facility of this scale in the United States and will be the country’s largest methanol production facility based on nameplate capacity,” the company said.
OCI N.V. said its project, which is expected to start production in late 2016, will use state-of-the-art methanol technology and incorporate best available environmental control technology. Natgasoline LLC submitted applications for environmental approvals at both state and federal levels in February 2013. The plant will take up a portion of a 514 acre plot of land recently acquired by OCI.
The company said this project is its third natural gas monetization project in the US, following the refurbishment of OCI’s integrated methanol and ammonia facility in Beaumont, and the construction of a US$ 1.8 billion nitrogen fertilizer complex in Wever, Iowa by the Iowa Fertilizer Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OCI N.V.
OCI N.V.’s Chief Executive Officer, Nassef Sawiris, said, “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. We believe that the prospects for the US methanol industry will remain positive for the foreseeable future because of growing U.S. and global demand, continued access to attractively priced natural gas feedstock and the United States’ current position as a net importer.”
“Natgasoline LLC is well-positioned to supply methanol, an essential building block for numerous end-use products, to the domestic market and help reduce a substantial reliance on annual methanol imports into the country. OCI’s 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,” he added.
Gov. Rick Perry’s Office said the “state is providing $2.1 million through the Texas Enterprise Fund to close the deal on this expansion and job creation. Execution of the state's agreement is contingent upon finalization of a local incentive offer as required by program criteria.”
"Texas has created a job-friendly economic environment through our low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce that welcomes world-class companies looking to expand or relocate their operations. Natgasoline's commitment to expanding and creating jobs in Texas further strengthens our energy industry and continues the Lone Star State's longstanding role in fueling the nation,” the Governor added.