Houston chemical company G2X Energy Inc. said April 13 that it’s buying half of what’s expected to become the nation’s largest methanol plant in Beaumont. G2X said it is paying $680 million to acquire its stake in the 1.75 million metric tons per year (tpy) Natgasoline methanol plant from the Dutch firm OCI N.V., which will maintain the other 50% stake. OCI announced the more than $1 billion methanol project in 2013, and it’s slated for completion in late 2017.
G2X is a subsidiary of Consolidated Energy Limited, the world’s second-largest methanol producer, that’s owned by the German-and-Swiss-based Proman Group and Germany’s Helm AG. The U.S. used to import 90% of its methanol, now it’s becoming a net exporter. “This acquisition fulfills one of our core funding objectives to become a major producer in the North American methanol market,” Tim Vail, president and CEO of G2X, said in a statement.
For the Beaumont plant, Consolidated Energy will handle methanol marketing and distribution, while G2X and Proman will contribute management personnel and technical leadership in the startup, operations and maintenance of the facility. The Beaumont project includes 3,000 temporary construction jobs and about 240 new permanent jobs to run the plant.
G2X has delayed its planned $1.6 billion Big Lake Fuels methanol plant in Lake Charles, La. Other previously announced methanol projects have also been put on hold as methanol must compete with cheaper and oversupplied refinery naphtha. Nonetheless, ICIS reported that in 2015, the U.S. nearly doubled its methanol capacity, raising it from 3.4 million tpy to 6.0 million tpy with the addition of three new plants over 1.0 million tpy or more and the expansion of another to just under 1 million tpy.
At the beginning of 2016, ICIS reported that with the U.S. market becoming increasingly self-sufficient for methanol, capacity in Trinidad, which stands at over 6.5 million tpy, may have to be rerouted to other regions, spreading the global oversupply glut.