Syngas Energy Holdings LLC, Channelview, Tex., will invest $360 million to build and operate a grassroots methanol production plant in St. James Parish, La., on a tract of land with access to the Port of South Louisiana, according to Louisiana Economic Development (LED).
The proposed plant would have a production capacity of 500,000 tonnes/year and would be built on a 130-acre plot of land that Syngas Energy Holdings will buy from NuStar Energy LP, San Antonio, which operates a nearby 11 million-bbl crude oil terminal and logistics complex that provides storage and shipping capabilities for specialty liquids such as methanol, LED said.
While NuStar’s St. James complex will provide rail and barge transportation services for the proposed methanol plant, Syngas Energy said it would build additional on site storage capacity at the plant to enable product shipments by truck.
The project intends to produce methanol from a feedstock of Louisiana’s abundant natural gas supplies, which would arrive to the plant’s location via pipeline, according to Vas Kenyen, Syngas Energy’s chief executive officer.
While permit approvals and a final investment decision have yet to be completed, Syngas Energy said it expects to begin construction on the project during second-quarter 2016.
The plant’s initial 500,000-tpy production capacity is scheduled to be commissioned by yearend 2018, but plans already are under way for an expansion to 700,000-tpy in a later phase, Kenyen.
Syngas Energy plans to start hiring additional senior management for the project in first-quarter 2016, with broad hiring of operators and other plant functions due to begin during third-quarter 2017.
Earlier in the year, Yuhuang Chemical Inc. (YCI), a subsidiary of China’s Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., announced its plan to build its own $1.85-billion methanol manufacturing complex in Louisiana, also in St. James Parish. (OGJ Online, Sept. 16, 2015; Feb. 11, 2015; July 18, 2014).
Once fully commissioned, the complex will include two methanol plants with a combined capacity of 3 million tpy, as well as a methanol derivatives plant for production of intermediate chemicals.
Phase 1 of YCI’s grassroots complex, which includes a 1.7 million-tpy methanol plant is due to begin construction by yearend, with startup scheduled for first-quarter 2018.
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