Methanex mulls revamp of second New Zealand methanol train

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, Oct. 12 -- Methanex New Zealand is likely to spend $50 million (NZ) in refurbishment and restart of the second train at its Motunui methanol complex near New Plymouth in the country’s North Island.

The move would be a precursor to prolonging production of methanol to at least 2016.

The mothballed train—Meth One—would be restarted so the company can continue producing 2,400 tonnes/day of methanol when the other train—Meth Two—is shut for major maintenance inspection within the next 3 years.

Methanex restarted Meth Two in October 2008 and a refurbishment will be required after 4-5 years of operation.

Methanol is currently priced at $345/tonne in the Asia pacific region, and Methanex is keen not to lose market share to competitors supplying China, Taiwan, and South Korea.

The refurbishment program would also provide the company with flexibility in its operations, including the ability to run at total capacity of 1.8 million tonnes/year if new gas supply contracts are obtained in the future.

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