Japanese Venture To Double Methanol Production In Venezuela

The factory, which comes onlin in 2009, will raise methanol production from 750,000 to 1.6 million tons a year.

A Japanese-backed joint venture said Dec. 22 it will invest some $400 million to double production of methanol in Venezuela amid growing global demand for the industrial gas. The joint venture, Metanol de Oriente S.A., will build a second plant adjacent to its existing factory in Venezuela's northeastern Anzoategui state, the Mitsubishi Corp. trading house and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. Inc. said. The two Japanese firms together hold a 47.5% stake in the venture, which also includes Venezuela's state-run Pequiven.

The venture will invest around $400 million to build the factory by late 2009, raising its methanol production from 750,000 to 1.6 million tons a year, they said in a joint statement.

The companies decided on the investment because of to growing demand, particularly in China, due to strong economic expansion.

In methanol, "a shift in production is now underway, with established facilities closing in major markets like North America and Western Europe, and new facilities being operated in oil-producing countries in the Middle East and South America," the statement said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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