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Trading firm Castleton Commodities International plans to build a $1.2 billion methanol plant in Plaquemines Parish, La. It expects to begin construction of the plant in 2016 and complete it two years later. It will have 1.75 million metric tons per year of methanol capacity. Cheap natural gas from shale has attracted a flood of new methanol projects to the U.S., with the bulk of the output earmarked for export markets. More than a dozen firms are planning about 30 million metric tons per year of new capacity (C&EN, Aug. 11, page 12). U.S. production was only about 1 million metric tons in 2007, before the shale gas boom, according to the consulting firm IHS Chemical.
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