Methanol Gains Traction as Cleaner Gas Alternative

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Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Nassef Sawiris, CEO at OCI N.V., discusses his company’s new methanol plant being built in Texas, the growth of the gasoline alternative in the United States and political and regulatory challenges facing the methanol industry. He speaks on Bloomberg Television’s “In The Loop.”

Being built in texas and production online in 2016. late-2016. how many jobs will this create?

During construction, 3000 jobs, and 200 jobs to operate the plant.

And this product, methanol, can be used in place of gasoline for cars?

Is already use alongside gasoline in china.

It is being injected in europe and the u.k. up to 2% and three percent.

It is gaining traction.

There's more natural gas being pumped.

It is a clean addition.

It is cleaner than regular gasoline.

It is made out of natural gas, and so it is getting a lot of traction as a gasoline additive.

Do cars, car manufacturers, have to change anything about their engines to allow this to be processed?

Minor tweaking, it is a $60 kit that is available.

A do not have to do much to get ready for field that includes methanol alongside ethanol and gasoline.

Did you tell me nascar cars used to run on this?

Yes, on peer methanol -- pure methanol.

It is high acting -- octane.

Why did nascar stop?

I am not sure.

[laughter] you're not sure about that.

I was just areas.

You have serious backers, including lazard and a connection to a bill gates company.

How did you make those connections?

A lot of people see potential in natural gas monetization.

One of the big challenges of natural gas is it is not easily transportable, so we saw a big opportunity in the u.s. in displacing a lot of the imports.

Right now, u.s. imports about 5 million tons of methanol, so that plant we are embarking on is merely an important substitution.

We're not looking to create new demand.

It is rather than getting methanol out of trinidad or the far east, it will be produced right here in the u.s.. what happens with the legislation -- is there a holdup in congress about this type of fuel being used?

It is being discussed in congress.

It will take some time, but methanol has other uses as well.

It is a building block for a lot of building materials -- resin, paint.

It has multiple uses.

With housing starts expecting to rebound, it is a good time for the methanol industry.

We mentioned, a different countries you are doing business with.

What is the u.s. like from your perspective?

You have businesses in the u.k., the netherlands, algeria.

How do you see the u.s.? the u.s. has its own challenges.

The cost of building a plant in the u.s. could be 50%, up to 100% higher than building a similar plant in the emerging world.

Is that for labor?

Labor, environmental approvals, a lot of red tape.

And there is not as much concentrate -- competition in the construction area as well.

As far as comparing it to the netherlands, is it easier or harder?

In europe in general, there are not a lot of industrial plants being built nowadays.

They going through an energy challenge or not, depended mostly on russian -- challenge, dependent mostly on russian gas.

Nassef, what has been the biggest surprise to you as you kick this project off, about doing business in the u.s.? i think, some of the environmental red tape, and the time it takes to get some of those approved has been an eye- opener.

That is why we use the term patient capital.

Very good to see you, the seeds harris, the ceo of oci.

We have a break to take.

-- nassef sawiris, the ceo of

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.

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