A feasibility study for the construction of a methanol plant near Darwin has begun, with Western Australian chemical company Coogee heading the project.
The 350,000 tonne per annum methanol plant would be located at Middle Arm industrial precinct. A final investment decision is expected in early 2021, with construction commencing soon after.
The project will cost approximately $500 million and commence operating in 2024, and is estimated to create around 1,000 jobs during construction and 350 direct and indirect jobs on an ongoing basis.
In 2018, Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, unveiled the NT Government’s 5-Point NT Gas Strategy aimed at driving the government’s vision for the Territory as a world-class hub for gas production, manufacturing and services by 2030.
Methanol is used as a fuel additive and in the manufacture of products such as textiles and pharmaceuticals.
Coogee are currently working with the NT Government’s Gas Task Force as they undertake these studies and the Power and Water Corporation, and gas owners, on options to supply up to 40TJ’s of gas per day.
Coogee owns Australia’s only methanol plant, which operated for 22 years before closing in March 2016 due to high east coast gas prices.
Middle Arm is already home to the ConocoPhillips Darwin LNG Plant and the INPEX Ichthys Onshore LNG Processing Facility.
Mr Gunner said the project will support over 1,000 jobs during construction, and a further 350 direct and indirect jobs during operations.
“There is enormous opportunity in the Territory to build a manufacturing hub, which will create many hundreds of permanent local jobs. I have long said the Northern Territory can be a world-class hub for gas production and manufacturing – it is a value-add industry right here in the NT,” Mr Gunner said.
“I’ve met with Coogee and have been encouraging them to invest right here in the Top End.
“They believe in the Territory’s economy and are keen to invest in Territory jobs.”
Coogee Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Dr Grant Lukey, said the proposed methanol plant will be strategically located in Darwin to take advantage of its abundant gas supply and its proximity to the South East Asia market. The proposed plant will also use innovative, low-emission technology.