Methanex Corp., Vancouver, B.C., is stepping up its methanol production and marketing operations on a large scale. It has disclosed plans to buy the methanol operations of Fletcher Challenge Ltd. of New Zealand in a deal valued at more than $700 million (U.S.). It plans expansion of methanol capacity, citing a growing market for methanol-derived methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) as an octane enhancer for oxygenated gasoline. Subject to several approvals, Methanex will acquire from Fletcher Challenger: Petralgas, a 520,000 ton/year methanol plant in New Zealand. Synfuel, a New Zealand pl...

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