Natgasoline's Methanol Plant, Beaumont, Texas, United States of America
OCI subsidiary Natgasoline is building a methanol plant at Beaumont, Texas, which is touted to become the biggest methanol plant in the US, based on the production capacity.
The facility will produce 5,000t of methanol a day, amounting to 1.75t a year. It is expected to make the US market for methanol more self-sufficient by closing the five million tonne methanol deficit.
The applications for the environmental approvals of the plant were submitted in February 2013 and the site was selected in November 2013. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the final greenhouse gas (GHG) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) construction permit for the project in September 2014.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new plant was held in March 2014 and production is scheduled to start in late 2016. The project is expected to generate approximately 3,000 construction jobs and 240 permanent jobs when it comes online.
Financing the biggest methanol plant in the US
The overall investment for the methanol plant is estimated to reach $1bn. The project has received a $2.1m grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund, and commitments for incentives from local entities such as the city of Beaumont, Jefferson County, the Beaumont Independent School District, the Port of Beaumont and the Sabine-Neches Navigation District.
Natgasoline's Beaumont methanol facility details
The methanol manufacturing plant is being constructed on a 514-acre land owned by OCI and located adjacent to the existing OCI Beaumont integrated ammonia and methanol production complex.
The project forms the first phase of the larger gas-to-gasoline (GtG) plant proposed by Natgasoline. The second phase of the GtG plant involves the construction of a 22,000 barrels per day (bpd) motor-grade methanol to gasoline (MtG) production unit using the refined methanol either from the proposed new methanol production unit or other sources as feedstock. The MtG facility requires a separate PSD permit to start construction.
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A contract for the supply of 2,400t of oxygen a day for the plant was awarded to Air Liquide in July 2014. The company will also construct a new air separation unit (ASU) at the site to produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon.
Lurgi MegaMethanol process technology
The methanol plant will implement Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions' proprietary Lurgi MegaMethanol process technology to convert natural gas into methanol. The detailed engineering and procurement works for the project are also being performed by Air Liquide.
The processing steps include pretreatment of the natural gas to remove sulphur compounds. The pre-treated gas then undergoes an oxygen-blown natural gas reforming either in combination with steam or autothermal reforming, which does not include any fired combustion heating, to convert the methane, steam and other compounds into synthesis gas (syngas).
The syngas goes through a two-step methanol synthesis in water and gas-cooled reactors, and is finally routed to a three-column distillation unit to remove impurities. The final product is pure methanol, which will either be stored for use by the proposed MtG plant or supplied to third parties for producing gasoline or industrial chemicals.
The engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project is OCI Engineering & Construction Group.
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