Methanex seeks assurances before building Darwin plant

A cloud has appeared over a proposed gas-to-liquids methanol plant in Darwin, Australia, following the federal government�s assurances that LNG would not be subject to national greenhouse gas abatement measures.


MELBOURNE�A cloud has appeared over a proposed gas-to-liquids based methanol plant in Darwin, Australia, following the federal government�s assurances that LNG would not be subject to national greenhouse gas abatement measures. Methanex Corp. of Vancouver, BC�the company behind plans for a $1.76 billion methanol plant using feedstock from the yet-to-be-developed Woodside Energy Ltd.-Royal Dutch/Shell Group Sunrise-Troubadour-Sunset-Evans Shoals gas fields in the northeastern Timor Sea�wants to have specific promises before committing investment to Australia.

Methanex signed a letter of intent in March of this year to build the Darwin plant (OGJ, Mar. 13, 2000, p. 30). It will now make a decision by the end of the year on whether to locate the plant in Australia or take it to an alternative location in Qatar.

The company wants the Australian government to clarify any future abatement measures it intends to introduce. It also wanted to know what expectations for greenhouse gas reductions would apply to the proposed GTL-based methanol plant, which will emit about 2 million tonnes/year of carbon dioxide.

The company said this week that the government�s policy is �directionally helpful," but Methanex had not yet reached a point where it thought the risk level was tolerable.

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