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$1.3B methanol plant slated for South Louisiana

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Louisiana Methanol (SLM) CEO Barry Williamson and Todd Corp. Group CEO Jon Young announced that South Louisiana Methanol LP will invest $1.3 billion in a new methanol production facility on the banks of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish. The South Louisiana Methanol site will be the largest of its kind in North America.

Austin, Texas-based Zero Emission Energy Plant Ltd. (ZEEP) and New Zealand-based Todd Corp. are joint owners of the project, which will result in a world-scale methanol plant. The SLM methanol facility will be located in the Port of South Louisiana district, with access to interstate and intrastate natural gas and carbon dioxide pipelines.

As a liquid hydrocarbon product, methanol is easily distributed as an intermediate feedstock for chemical manufacturers in the Gulf Coast region and to foreign markets. ZEEP and Todd Corp. chose St. James Parish for the new facility because of the state’s strong business climate and the high inventories and inexpensive price of natural gas in Louisiana, as well as the area’s strategic shipping location at the Port of South Louisiana—the largest port in the Western Hemisphere by capacity. Since 2008, more than $32 million in investments and upgrades have been made to the Port.

LED began working with ZEEP on the South Louisiana Methanol project in February 2012. To secure the project, the state will offer an incentives package that includes a $5 million performance-based grant for infrastructure costs, and services of Louisiana’s workforce development program, LED FastStart. In addition, the company is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

Construction of the project will begin in the fourth quarter of 2013, with hiring expected to begin in early 2015 and commercial operations of the South Louisiana Methanol facility to start in mid-2016.



What feed stocks will be used?


Natural gas. After the U.S. market was deregulated, no one could depend on prices so methanol plants left the U.S. along with chemical and materials plants.

The point of a market system is suppose to bring competition and lower prices. The effect of deregulation brought uncertainty and lost business. A case of unintended consequences, we hope.

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