T&T building $850 million methanol plant

PORT OF SPAIN — The multi-million-dollar methanol plant being built in a joint venture arrangement is expected to be completed by 2016 and should please environmentalists.

The plant, costing more than $850 million, will be built in La Brea at the site of the abandoned Alutrint aluminum smelter project.

Plans for the plant were laid out at an Energy Chamber luncheon yesterday. The theme of the luncheon which was held at Cara Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, Claxton Bay, was Downstream Business Opportunities With Neal and Massy.

Last year June, the Ministry of Energy received a proposal from Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan for a methanol to petrochemicals project.

Mitsubishi Corporation leads a consortium that includes Mitsubishi Gas Chemicals, local partner Neal & Massy Holdings Ltd and Integrated Chemical Company Ltd, a Texas, United States-based company.

Negotiations were led by Mitsubishi Corporation for the project, the first phase of which will involve a total investment of US$1 billion and will be situated in the Union Estate Industrial Park near La Brea in south Trinidad. The project site created a national environmental stir years ago when the smelter was planned there.

This time, Group chief executive officer at Neal & Massy Holdings Gervase Warner says things will be very different.

The complex will produce methanol and dimethyl ether.

Warner said environmentalists should be happy that such a plant was being built.

He said: “This is a methanol to DME plant. Methanol is produced in this country already. It is what we call a clean fuel. DME is another green fuel. I would expect the environmentalists will be really encouraging us to do this.

“One of the applications is that it is a substitute for diesel. I would expect that any environmentalist will want to see as much DME replace diesel in Trinidad and Tobago because we do not have the cleanest burning diesel… Won’t it be fantastic to see less of that and more of clean fuel on our nation’s highway? I hope they can see this is a good.” (Express)

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