Algeria's Sonatrach and France's Total will sign a contract for the Arzew methanol plant in Oran, Algeria, in September 2012, to coincide with the visit of new French president Francois Hollande to Algeria, a senior official told Zawya. Hollande's visit will include a new round of negotiations between Total and Sonatrach on building the plant with a production capacity of 1.6 million tonnes per year. Construction is likely to begin early 2013, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Algeria "has been able to overcome the problem" of ethane supply to the plant from the Hassi Raml area by importing it from southern Algeria, the official said. According to the Zawya Projects Monitor, Sonalmeth, owned 49 percent by Sonatrach and 51 percent by Algerian Methanol Company, or Almet, plans to develop the greenfield methanol plant in the Arzew Industrial Zone in northwest Algeria. The project is part of Sonatrach's program to build six new petrochemical units.
By Imen Kimouche