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LyondellBasell will restart methanol plant in Channelview

Part of the LyondellBasell plant in Channelview, as seen in this company photo.
Part of the LyondellBasell plant in Channelview, as seen in this company photo.

Methanol market strong worldwide

HOUSTON, Jan. 2, 2014 (PRNewswire) — LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB) today announced that its methanol plant at Channelview, Texas, was placed into service in the fourth-quarter 2013 to take advantage of low-cost natural gas from shale formations. The unit had been out of service since 2004 due to the rising cost of natural gas, the key feedstock for methanol production.

According to spokesperson David Harpole, the activation of this plant has meant 24 new jobs to the complex.

The methanol unit has the capacity to produce 780,000 tons of methanol each year, he said. The unit was shut down in the year 2004 due to high prices for natural gas, but this has now been reversed by the availability of shale gas in the Texas Gulf Coast region.

Harpole said the restart work actually began in December, and continues as they carefully start up equipment that has not been in use.

“The methanol plant restart is the first in a series of U.S. Gulf Coast projects by LyondellBasell to take advantage of the natural gas price advantage that we enjoy from shale gas,” said Patrick Quarles, senior vice president, Intermediates and Derivatives. ”The methanol plant project and our other significant de-bottleneck projects will bring new capacity into our system earlier and at substantially lower cost than constructing entirely new facilities.”

Other LyondellBasell growth projects include expansions of ethylene capacity at La Porte, Channelview and Corpus Christi, Texas, that will add 1.8 billion pounds to the company’s annual capacity, and the expansion of a polyethylene facility in Matagorda County, Texas.

Methanol is used in the production of chemicals such as acetic acid and formaldehyde, and in products including adhesives, foams, plywood subfloors, solvents and windshield washer fluid. LyondellBasell is a leading manufacturer and global supplier of acetic acid. Methanol also is used in global gasoline production through dirmorect blending, as well as for the production of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a clean-burning gasoline component produced by LyondellBasell.

LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB) is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies and a member of the S&P 500. LyondellBasell manufactures products at 58 sites in 18 countries. LyondellBasell products and technologies are used to make items that improve the quality of life for people around the world including packaging, electronics, automotive parts, home furnishings, construction materials and biofuels.