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Mitsubishi Gas, Mitsubishi Corp Plan Methanol Plant in Caribbean

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April 9 (Bloomberg) -- Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co. and Mitsubishi Corp. plan to build a plant to produce methanol and dimethyl ether in Trinidad and Tobago.

The companies are in the final stages of an agreement with the government of the Caribbean nation and Neal & Massy Holdings Ltd., the Japanese companies said in a statement today.

The partners aim to reach a final decision by March and start commercial operation by March 2017, according to the statement.

The initial investment for the plant is estimated to be $850 million, Ryuji Ideno, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Gas Chemical, said by phone today.

Global demand for methanol, currently 60 million tons a year, is expected to increase as much as 5 percent annually in the coming years, according to the statement.

The partners plan to produce 1 million tons of methanol and 100,000 tons of dimethyl ether, the companies said. Methanol is used as a raw material to make products such as adhesives and agrochemicals; dimethyl ether can work as a clean energy substitute for diesel fuel in cars and power generation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net; Ichiro Suzuki in Tokyo at isuzuki@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net