Methanex mentions second Geismar plant

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Vancouver-based Methanex Corp., the world’s largest supplier of methanol, says it intends to move a second methanol plant from Chile to Geismar, according to a statement in the company’s fourth-quarter report that a company official later contradicted.

Although the second plant’s relocation has been widely anticipated by Fitch Ratings among others, this is the first time Methanex publicly acknowledged those plans.

In the fourth-quarter report released late Wednesday night, Methanex said there is a second facility “that management intends to relocate to Geismar.”

The information about the second facility is included in a paragraph where Methanex said it wrote down $297 million on the value of its plants in Chile because the company is having a hard time securing enough natural gas feedstock to run the facilities.

The Chile properties are valued at $245 million, Methanex said.

“The $245 million carrying value excludes the first Chile facility that is being relocated to Geismar, Louisiana, but includes the second facility that management also intends to relocate to Geismar,” Methanex said in the report.

However, in a Thursday email to The Advocate, Methanex Communications Manager Baljit Lalli said Methanex has not yet made a decision on relocating a second plant from Chile.

“We are evaluating the potential relocation of a second plant from Chile to Louisiana and expect to make a decision on this second relocation in the first half of 2013,” she said.

Methanex said it spent $112.8 million in 2012 on relocating the first plant.

The cost to move each plant has been estimated at around $500 million

On Jan. 23, Methanex announced Chesapeake Energy would supply natural gas to the first Geismar plant under a 10-year contract.

Natural gas is the feedstock used to make methanol, which can be found in everything from windshield washer fluid and recyclable plastic bottles to plywood and paint.