• The Damietta facility has a capacity of 1.3 million tonnes a year
  • It was operational for six days in the first quarter of 2015
  • The facility has been shut down due to restricted gas supplies and technical problems

Canadian methanol producer Methanex is planning to restart its Damietta methanol plant in Egypt in mid-May, according to the company’s CEO John Floren.

“We have been advised by our gas supplier that supply should be available for our restart mid-May following the commencement of LNG [liquefied natural gas] imports,” he said in a conference call about Methanex’s first-quarter results.

The 1.3 million-tonne-a-year plant was only operational for six days during the first three months of 2015, according to the company, which blamed restricted gas supplies and technical problems.

“We believe the deterioration in gas availability is due primarily to the extensive upstream maintenance programmes combined with delivery declines from the upstream fields,” said Floren.

Egypt is experiencing its worst natural gas shortage in decades and saw rolling blackouts over the summer period in 2014.

“We expect to operate at reduced rates until the peak summer gas demand period starts and we will likely be required to shut down again,” said Floren.

“In the near term, we expect intermittent operation of the plant when gas is available during the non-peak gas demand months. However, we are optimistic that recent developments for upstream gas supply in Egypt will result in improved gas deliveries in the medium term.”

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