LyondellBasell 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.
"The methanol plant re-start 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 debottleneck 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 direct blending, as well as for the production of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a clean-burning gasoline component produced by LyondellBasell.
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