Friday, February 17, 2012

Natural Gas: Buy the Chemical Companies that Use the Stuff (HUN; MEOH)

Hey, if they use natgas as a feedstock and the price of the feedstock is cut in half...
From BusinessWeek:
Huntsman May Relocate Capacity to U.S. After Gas-Price Drop
Huntsman Corp., the world’s biggest maker of textile dyes, plans to expand chemical production in the U.S. and may relocate some capacity from other countries to take advantage of a drop in domestic natural-gas prices.

Gas is cheap enough to justify shifting some production to the U.S. for energy-intensive products such as MDI, an insulation ingredient, and surfactants, which are used in detergents, Chief Executive Officer Peter Huntsman said today in a telephone interview.

“In some of those products we already have taken steps to more fully utilize our North American cost advantage,” he said. “In the course of the next 18 months, we will incrementally be expanding capacity and continuing to look at capacity in North America to take advantage of the gas situation.”

The company plans to fully utilize existing North American capacity while it plans expansions to be announced at a later date, said the CEO, whose brother Jon Huntsman Jr. withdrew his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination last month. Adding 10 employees at a factory creates 100 jobs in related fields such as shipping, construction and maintenance, Peter Huntsman said.

North American gas prices are the equivalent of crude oil costing $15 to $20 a barrel, compared with $60 in Europe and $90 in Asia, he said. U.S. gas futures fell last month to their lowest in a decade....MORE
And from Hydrocarbon Processing mag: 
Methanex to relocate Chile methanol plant to US
Jacobs Engineering Group said it was awarded a contract from Canada-based methanol major Methanex to provide engineering services for a potential methanol production facility in Louisiana.  

The plant would be relocated from Chile (where it is idled now) to Louisiana, with Methanex seeking to start operations in the second half of 2014.

“The outlook for low North American natural-gas prices makes Louisiana an attractive location," said Methanex CEO Bruce Aitken....MORE
From Daily Finance, Jan. 30:
Methanex Thumps Estimates in Blowout Quarter
So time to bone up on your organic chemistry kids.