Friday, April 11, 2014

Port of Kalama Approves Methanol Production Agreement

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Kalama Commission on April 10 voted to approve a lease agreement with NW Innovation Works to build and operate a $1.8 billion manufacturing plant on port property that would produce methanol from natural gas.

The lease calls for a two-year contingency period allowing the port and NW Innovation Works to conduct in depth analysis of environmental, safety and feasibility issues. After all contingencies have been satisfied, a 30-year lease for construction and operations would begin.

“I’m very happy that the port and NW Innovation Works have reached this milestone,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement released by the port. “I have instructed my Department of Commerce to continue working with the Port of Kalama and the company on this opportunity.”

The facility would create 1,000 jobs during construction and 200 permanent family wage jobs during operations, Port of Kalama Commission President Alan Basso said. The methanol produced would be exported to Asia.

“NW Innovation Works still has more work to do evaluating the site and we’ll be talking with lots of people – city, county, school and fire district officials – and with citizens,” Basso said.

According to the port, the upcoming environmental and regulatory approval processes includes numerous opportunities for community input, particularly through Commission meetings. The port says it will publicize points in the process when issues related to the proposal are under consideration.

“Our partnership with the Port of Kalama demonstrates that we don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and a thriving economy,” NW Innovation Works CEO Simon Zhang said. “This project has the potential to transform the local economy while working to reduce China’s dependence on coal.”

Additional information about the NW Innovation Works proposal can be found at