World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green'

High global standards of environmental excellence are to be incorporated into the construction and operation of the world's largest integrated methanol production complex, which Methanex Australia is proposing to build on the Burrup Peninsula, on the mid-north coast of Western Australia.
World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green' World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green' World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green' World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green' World's largest methanol plant designed to be 'clean and green'

If approval is given, the A$2 billion complex will eventually comprise two plants and use new generation large-scale technology to produce up to 5 million tonnes per annum of methanol for the company's customer base in the Asia-Pacific region.

Methanex is carrying out detailed front-end engineering and design for its facilities and has applied to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority to set the necessary requirements for an environmental assessment of the project.

The company has engaged leading consulting firm, Sinclair Knight Merz, to assist with gaining environmental approvals.

Sinclair Knight Merz Environmental Group Manager, Perth, Dr Barbara Brown, said two locations on the Peninsula were being considered for the manufacturing facility, with the final choice dependent on commercial and technical, as well as environmental considerations.

"The Burrup Peninsula and surrounding Dampier Archipelago are geomorphologically and environmentally significant because of the physical and geological setting, along with the vegetation diversity, heritage value, archaeological richness and the complexity and diversity of the terrestrial and marine habitats," Dr Brown said.

"The land identified for the plant process and storage areas, pipeline corridor easements and jetty loadout facilities is situated in areas either zoned industrial under the Burrup Peninsula Land Use and Management Plan, or on an existing industry lease," she said.

"The proposed new facilities would therefore be well removed from the pristine areas identified in the Land Use and Management Plan," Dr Brown noted.

"Methanol manufacture is a clean process anyway, in which the liquid petrochemical is made from natural gas and steam," she added.

The company has a global commitment to responsible management and environmental excellence, as demonstrated by the New Zealand Chemical Industry Council awarding Methanex its prestigious 'Prince Gold' accreditation for the safety, health and environmental performance of its NZ plant.

The new Western Australian complex would also be built and managed in an environmentally sensitive manner.

It would be the cornerstone of several gas-based projects being proposed for the Burrup Peninsula.

The Federal and State Governments recognise the significance of this development and are supporting it by providing infrastructure for the industrial estate.

The infrastructure would include facilities such as roads, seawater supply and access corridors.

Following the recent signing of a Sale and Purchase Agreement by Methanex and the North-West Shelf Joint Venture partners, natural gas for the WA project would be provided from gas fields in the nearby Carnarvon Basin.

Studies predict that the project would employ more than 1,000 people during its construction and provide about 150 permanent jobs when operational.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2003, subject to approvals and a final investment decision in late 2002, with the first of the two plants scheduled to start up in 2005.