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Air Liquide to Build Unit to Supply St. James Parish Plant

The Yuhuang Chemical plant will produce about 5,500 tons of methanol per day. An overall complex, to be built in three phases at an estimated $1.85 billion, on St. James' west bank

EDGARD, La. (AP) — Paris-based Air Liquide will invest about $170 million in a unit that will supply oxygen for Chinese petrochemical giant Yuhuang Chemical's planned methanol manufacturing complex in St. James Parish.

The Advocate reports the Yuhuang Chemical plant will produce about 5,500 tons of methanol per day. An overall complex, to be built in three phases at an estimated $1.85 billion, on St. James' west bank

Air Liquide said it has entered into a long-term agreement to supply Yuhuang Chemical with 2,400 tons of oxygen per day. Air Liquide will build an air-separation unit for production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. That unit will be connected to Air Liquide's Louisiana pipeline system, as well as Yuhuang Chemical's St. James site.

The new Air Liquide facility is scheduled to begin operations in the second half of 2017.

Air Liquide also recently signed a contract to license its MegaMethanol process technology to Yuhuang Chemical. The process, which converts natural gas to methanol, is part of Air Liquide's proprietary technology portfolio.

Yuhuang Chemical officials have said construction on its complex will begin in 2016, with the first $750 million phase of its methanol project beginning operations by 2018. After the methanol plant is completed, the company will build a second $500 million methanol plant and reach an annual capacity of 3.3 million tons per year of methanol. The third phase will include a methanol derivatives plant that will produce intermediate chemicals.

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