Morgan Stanley to serve as financial advisor for St. James plant

Morgan Stanley has been hired to serve as a financial adviser to a company planning a $1.3 billion methanol plant for St. James Parish.

South Louisiana Methanol, a joint partnership between Zero Emissions Energy Plants Ltd., of Austin, Texas, and The Todd Corp., a private, family-owned New Zealand company, plans to build the plant on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. James Parish, across the river from the Nucor Corp. steel plant that is under construction.

“We look forward to working with Morgan Stanley as we develop our methanol project in south Louisiana,” said Jon Young, group CEO of Todd Corp. “We believe their extensive background and experience advising and separately financing large energy and industrial projects will significantly strengthen our financing process.”

Construction on the plant is expected to start in early 2014.

The plant will create 85 direct jobs, plus 374 indirect jobs, according to figures from SLM and the Louisiana Economic Development Department.

Hiring is expected to start in 2015 and commercial operations will begin by mid-2016.

The plant will convert 163,000 million British thermal units of natural gas to 5,000 metric tons of methanol each day, according to a news release from the state.

Methanol is used as a feedstock to produce plastics, textiles, paint and plywood.