Gov. Justice Announces New Methanol Plant for Pleasants County


CHARLESTON — Gov. Jim Justice announced Monday that a $350 million plant would be built-in Pleasants County to produce methanol.

West Virginia Methanol Inc. will construct a plant to produce high-purity methanol from natural gas in Pleasants County. The plant is a $350 million investment and will create 30 full-time jobs not counting the construction jobs needed to build the facility.

“It is another great day for West Virginia,” Justice said. “We had to create an image of a state that was really moving forward and moving forward the right way. I hope that you think we’ve done it, and we’re going to continue to do it.”

Once the plant is complete, it will produce 315,000 metric tons per year of high-purity methanol.

Lars Scott, executive vice president at West Virginia Methanol, said the Cincinnati-based company chose West Virginia for its abundant natural gas supplies, the need for methanol in the region, and the ability of the region to support more industrial growth.

“One thing that has really attracted us to West Virginia is the people we’ve met and the workforce we know that’s here, experienced, and capable of ultimately becoming a part of our plant,” Scott said. “We think our plant and probably others that either we or people will build will continue to make this a region for more and more chemical and industrial manufacturing plants. We’re looking forward to being a part of that.”

Scott said the plant would be constructed by Haldor Topsoe and Modular Plant Solutions using what he calls an innovative design that will allow the plant to be built using modular pieces the size of shipping containers. Scott said construction could start in the first half of 2021 once the company goes through the state permitting process. The construction period could take anywhere from 27 to 30 months.

Monday’s West Virginia Methanol announcement is the second big economic development news in recent days. Nearly two weeks ago, state officials announced that Virgin Hyperloop would construct its Certification Center in Northern West Virginia.

“We thank you for your investment in the State of West Virginia,” Ed Gaunch, secretary of the Department of Commerce, said Monday. “This is another big day I would say, particularly for the Mid-Ohio Valley region. It’s another rung on our ladder for economic diversity … a very exciting day for us.”

Justice and state officials were joined virtually by representatives of the Pleasants County Development Authority and the Pleasants County Commission, who praised the project as an opportunity for the region.

According to the Methanol Institute, methanol is a component in many plastics and other petrochemical manufacturing, such as formaldehyde used for glues and resins, acetic acid for polyester fibers and other plastics. Methanol is also used in various fuels for cars, boats, cookstoves, biodiesel, and even fuel cells for electric vehicles. It’s even a key part of wasterwater treatment facilities.


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