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Startup Has Plans For Methanol Plant in West Virginia

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced this week that startup US Methanol Corp. intends to move a methanol production facility to Kanawha County in the southwestern part of the state.

The company has been highlighting plans for two such plants in the state on its website. Tomblin said the facility would be operational by mid-2017.

The company is disassembling an existing methanol plant in Brazil, with plans to transport it to West Virginia, where it would convert 70 MMcf/d of natural gas to methanol, which is used to manufacture chemicals. Kanawha County is more than 100 miles from Marcellus Shale development in the northern part of the state and closer to legacy production. According to local news media reports, the company was drawn to the state because of its robust natural gas production.

Tomblin said the facility is expected to create 60 permanent jobs and more than 300 during construction, which is scheduled to begin in November. Prior to the announcement, the company had indicated on its permit application with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection that the facility would be located in either Kanawha or Wetzel County.

The announced location, however, is near a DowDuPont plant in Institute along the Kanawha River. The site already has access to rail, truck and barge transportation. The facility still needs an air emissions permit from the state.

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