Methanex Corporation is the largest producer of methanol in the world. It distributes product worldwide, from a network of manufacturing facilities located in New Zealand, Trinidad, Tobago, Chili, United States, Canada, and Egypt. Combined output from these manufacturing facilities is roughly 8-9 million tons of methanol annually. Its closest competitors are Eastman Chemical, Lyondell Basell Industries and Celanese Corporation.
Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Methanex employs more than 1,100 people across its worldwide facilities. The Methanex strategic plan focuses on delivering low cost production and maintaining its standing as the dominant supplier of methanol product in the world.
Methanex began operations in 1968 in Alberta, Canada, under the name Ocelot Industries. At that time, it was an oil and natural gas company capitalizing on the flush natural resources of Alberta. Weakening oil prices in the mid-80s caused Ocelot to rethink its strategic direction, beginning with a relocation to Vancouver, British Columbia. Toward the end of the 1980s, Canada found itself with an influx of foreign oil and natural gas developers, and Ocelot saw its profits falling. It began to sell off its oil and natural gas business and in 1991, Ocelot divided into three entities, with the ammonia and ethanol business becoming incorporated as Methanex in 1992.
Methanol (CH30H) is a clear liquid produced from natural gas and used as a chemical feedstock. It is utilized to manufacture acetic acid, chemical intermediates and formaldehyde. From these derivatives, a wide variety of product is produced, impacting the consumer on just about every level, including:
• building materials
• plastic bottles
• Windshield washer fluid
• methyl tertiary-butyl ether
Methanol product is employed throughout the chemical, industrial, agricultural and consumer industries.
Methanex maintains a network of high-tech global production sites.
Two plants in Trinidad ship primarily to North America, Asia, Europe, and South America. In Egypt, Methanex jointly owns a plant in Damietta, supplying methanol product to Asia Pacific and Europe. There are three plants in New Zealand, providing methanol to the company’s Asia Pacific customer base. The Chile production facility in Punta Arenas is supplying customers in South America. Natural gas feedstock has not been as available as previously, resulting in a reduction in production and re-location of two plants to Geismar, Louisiana. The Louisiana production line began at the beginning of 2015 with the two relocated plants, and both are now fully operational. And in Canada, Methanex operates a plant in Medicine Hat, servicing principally North American customers.
Methanex maintains marketing offices in the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, Chile, Korea, Japan, Belgium and the United Kingdom.
Through a number of collaborations and sponsorships, Methanex opens new avenues to the development of alternative fuels. For example, in collaboration with Coogee Energy in Australia, Methanex is developing methanol blends that are not only cost-efficient, but also reduce carbon fuel emissions. Addressing new shipping regulations regarding emissions, Methanex is collaborating in the Spireth Project, which is developing a cleaner burning methanol product to help the shipping industry come into compliance.