Greater availability of natural gas in New Zealand is behind the restart and expansion of methanol plants in New Zealand, said Methanex Corp., Vancouver, BC.
Methanex plans to increase operating capacity at its New Zealand operations to 2.2 million tonnes/year, a gain of 700,000 tpy, by the end of 2013. The company secured a new natural gas supply that will enable the restart of the methanol plant at its Waitara Valley site by late in the third quarter, adding 500,000 tpy of production.
In addition, Methanex will add capacity at the Motunui site by increasing distillation to add another 200,000 tpy. Capital cost of the two projects is a combined $65 million.
As a result of the improved natural gas supply position that continues to develop in the country, Methanex has “arrangements in place to underpin production at our three-plant operation in New Zealand for years to come.”