Contract signed for Trinidad and Tobago’s petrochemical plants

Oct 27, 2004 02:00 AM

Plans for a complex of petrochemical plants in this Caribbean country moved ahead as a firm announced an agreement with the Trinidad and Tobago National Gas Co.
The Caribbean Petrochemical Manufacturing Co. signed the agreement with the National Gas Co. to build a Trinidadian $ 4.2 bn ($ 700 mm) complex that will convert natural gas into ammonia, urea and melamine. Construction is to start in June on the three plants, which will first convert natural gas into ammonia, then to urea in the final process to melamine, a powder from which laminated furniture and a range of resins are produced. The complex is to be completed about two years after construction begins.

The Caribbean Petrochemical Manufacturing Co. -- 70 % owned by the local financial group CL Financial and 30 % owned by German partner MAN Ferrostaal -- plans the complex at an industrial park in Point Lisas, about 30 miles (50 km) south of the capital, Port-of-Spain.
The state-owned National Gas Co., or NGC, will sell 87 mm cf (2.5 mm cm) of natural gas per day to the complex at a cost of Trinidadian $ 300 mm ($ 50 mm) per year to create the melamine, according to NGC president Frank Look Kin.

Lawrence Duprey, chairman of Caribbean Petrochemical and CL Financial, said at the signing ceremony that annual revenues are projected at Trinidad $ 1.1 bn ($ 190 mm) and that the complex should create 235 permanent jobs. He said it will also employ 2,200 people during construction and will spend Trinidad $ 60 mm ($ 10 mm) in its first year of operation for goods and services in the two-island nation off Venezuela.
The complex is projected to produce 60,000 tons (66,140 US tons) of melamine annually, officials said. While large quantities are to be exported to the United States, Duprey said there also are possibilities to use it to develop "a high-grade wood manufacturing industry," potentially with lumber from nearby Guyana. Melamine is blended with wood to create furniture and is also used as a base product for paints, dishes, and concrete additives.

Trinidad already has six petrochemical plants, including the largest methanol plant in the world, Atlas Methanol, which produces some 1.7 mm tons (1.9 mm US tons) of methanol annually.
Trinidad, which has proven natural gas reserves of 30 tcf (850 bn cm), reported economic growth of 12.8 % in the fiscal year ending October -- much of it due to LNG. The nation of 1.2 mm people relies on oil and gas for more than 25 % of gross domestic product.

Source: Associated Press
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