​New $2 billion methanol plant planned for Grande Prairie

Image: Nauticol Energy

Calgary-based Nauticol Energy announced on Tuesday its intention to construct a $2 billion methanol manufacturing facility in Grande Prairie, in the heart of Montney drilling activity.

The planned facility has the support of the Western Cree Tribal Council, which has signed an agreement to be an equity partner.

The project will convert natural gas into up to three million metric tonnes of methanol per year, feeding end uses such as fuels, electronics, construction materials, solvents and petrochemicals.

Methanol use in clean alternative fuels is leading to significant growth in global demand, Nauticol noted in a statement.

While some of the methanol produced will supply local markets, most will be directed to Asian markets, which make up approximately 70 percent of current global demand, the company said.

The proposed project is located on existing disturbed land about 10 kilometres south of Grande Prairie. Nauticol expects to start building it in stages, using modules fabricated by PCL elsewhere in the province.

"Nauticol is committed to building value-add industry in the Grande Prairie region. This leading-edge facility will create 75,000 people years of employment and adds value to Alberta’s abundant natural gas supply,” CEO Mark Tonner said.

“This is a made-in-Alberta/made-for-Albertans project that will add tremendous economic, environmental and societal benefits both here and around the world.”

Prior to co-founding Nauticol in 2016, Tonner was president of GE Energy’s investment business in Canada. Nauticol's team includes chief commercial officer Tim Stauft, a former senior vice-president with Montney natural gas producer Seven Generations Energy. Nauticol is chaired by Leo de Bever, former CEO of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation. Seven Generations founder Pat Carlson is also on the board of directors.

Nauticol said that in the coming months it will work with all levels of government to obtain the required regulatory permits to successfully complete the project. The company has also started consultation and stakeholder engagement with the public, and has committed to continuing to do so throughout the project’s lifespan.

The facility is planned to be complete in 2021.