Largest U.S. methanol plant to be built in Beaumont

OCI’s Beaumont plant

In a packed conference room at the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, Netherlands-based fertilizer giant OCI N.V. unveiled plans to build a massive new facility in Beaumont. With Mayor Becky Ames, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick and Chamber President Jim Rich looking on, the company detailed plans for Natgasoline LLC, a wholly owned OCI subsidiary, to build a new greenfield world scale methanol plant in Beaumont.

The plant will be on a portion of a 514 acre plot of land recently acquired by OCI near the intersection of Highway 69 and Texas 347 and is expected to have a capacity of up to 5,000 metric tons per day (tpd), equivalent to approximately 1.75 million metric tons per annum (mtpa), and is expected to start production in late 2016. It will be the first methanol facility of this scale in the United States and will be the country’s largest methanol production facility based on nameplate capacity.

The project will use state-of-the-art methanol technology and will incorporate best available environmental control technology. Natgasoline LLC submitted applications for environmental approvals at both state and federal levels in February 2013.

The project has been awarded a grant of $2.1 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund, as well as incentive commitments from local entities, including the city of Beaumont, Jefferson County, the Beaumont Independent School District, the Port of Beaumont and the Sabine-Neches Navigation District. The Texas Enterprise Fund is a cash grant used as a financial incentive tool for projects that offer significant projected job creation and capital investment and where a single Texas site is competing with another viable out-of-state option. OCI estimates that the project will create approximately 3,000 construction jobs over the next three years and has committed to create 240 permanent jobs.

This is OCI N.V.’s third natural gas monetization project in the U.S. following the refurbishment of OCI Beaumont’s integrated methanol and ammonia facility in Beaumont (the operating subsidiary of OCI Partners LP) and the construction of a $1.8 billion nitrogen fertilizer complex in Wever, Iowa, by the Iowa Fertilizer Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OCI N.V.

OCI is a leading global nitrogen fertilizer producer and engineering and construction contractor based in the Netherlands that employs more than 75,000 people in 35 countries around the globe. OCI N.V. is currently engaged in a transaction to fully acquire its former parent company, Orascom Construction Industries S.A.E. OCI N.V. currently owns 98.88 percent of OCI S.A.E.

The Fertilizer Group owns and operates nitrogen fertilizer plants in the Netherlands, the United States, Egypt and Algeria and has an international distribution platform spanning from the Americas to Asia. The Fertilizer Group ranks among the world’s top fertilizer producers with a fertilizer production capacity of nearly 7 million metric tons.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, “Texas has created a job-friendly economic environment through our low taxes, smart regulations, fair courts and skilled workforce that welcomes world-class companies looking to expand or relocate their operations. Natgasoline’s commitment to expanding and creating jobs in Texas further strengthens our energy industry and continues the Lone Star State’s longstanding role in fueling the nation.”

OCI N.V.’s Chief Executive Officer Nassef Sawiris said, “Following the success of OCI Beaumont’s facility, OCI is pleased to have selected the state of Texas once again to expand its North American methanol activities. We believe that the prospects for the US methanol industry will remain positive for the foreseeable future because of growing U.S. and global demand, continued access to attractively priced natural gas feedstock and the United States’ current position as a net importer. Natgasoline LLC is well-positioned to supply methanol, an essential building block for numerous end-use products, to the domestic market and help reduce a substantial reliance on annual methanol imports into the country. OCI’s Construction Group will be involved in the construction of the plant, creating job opportunities in Texas and facilitating the completion of the project on schedule.

The effort shown by Gov. Perry, Judge Branick and the commissioners’ court, Mayor Ames, city manager Kyle Hayes and the Beaumont city council, Dr. Chargois and the Beaumont school board, the Port of Beaumont and the Sabine Neches Navigation District reaffirms our commitment to Beaumont and the surrounding communities.”


James Shannon can be reached at (409) 832-1400, ext. 241, or by e-mail at james [at] theexaminer [dot] com.