New BC Methanol Industry
Methanol Plant in the Northeast
Canadian Methanol Corporation (CMC) is developing a world-scale methanol plant at a 1055-acre site called Sundance near the town of Chetwynd in the Peace River region of northeastern British Columbia (BC), Canada. This “mega plant” will refine natural gas from the region’s vast shale gas reserves into 1.8 million tonnes of value-added methanol per year; it will be share infrastructure with the Blue Fuel Energy gasoline plant, which will produce gasoline from natural gas and renewable energy (wind, hydro).
The simplest alcohol, methanol is a colorless, organic, liquid chemical building block for thousands of products, making it one of the world’s most highly traded commodities. It’s also a clean-burning fuel for transportation and power generation.
Existing Technology, Infrastructure, and Customers
CMC will use existing technology in operation around the world to produce methanol, which will be transported along existing CN rail lines from the northeast to the BC north coast for shipment to fast-growing, existing markets in Asia and beyond.
No new pipeline is required. No pressurized or insulated and refrigerated containers are required. Methanol is easy and safe to handle, to transport by rail and ship, and to store; over many years Methanex demonstrated the safety of producing methanol in BC and shipping it from the north coast to global markets. What’s more, in the event of a spill, methanol is water soluble and biodegradable.
Canadian Methanol plans to start construction in late 2017 and production in 2020.
BC Climate Change and Jobs Objectives
The refining of natural gas into methanol, and then into olefins, delays indefinitely atmospheric release of gas-sourced CO2. In essence, olefin-based products such as plastics made from CMC methanol will sequester this carbon, ensuring that the gas does not contribute to climate change. In the same vein, CMC’s production process is not energy intensive, further helping BC generate hundreds of well-paying, permanent jobs without compromising climate change objectives. CMC has apprised the BC government of the exceptional benefits to the provincial economy that refining natural gas into value-added methanol will deliver.
Links with Blue Fuel Energy (BFE)
CMC’s world-scale methanol plant will share infrastructure with and receive renewable hydrogen from Blue Fuel Energy (BFE), which will produce renewable and reduced-carbon gasoline through the integration of conventional gas-to-gasoline production and renewables-to-gasoline production to help jurisdictions with a low-carbon fuel standard, such as BC and California, meet their standard.
First Nations Support
Canadian Methanol recognizes the vital importance to all British Columbians of strengthening cooperation between industry and First Nations, and considers this a vital objective as we move forward. CMC expects to build on existing relationships and extensive knowledge of Treaty 8 and other First Nations in fostering new relationships based on mutual respect and trust. CMC’s MOU with West Moberly First Nations is testament to this.