MOL teams up with NW Innovation on methanol shipping

Japanese shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines will invest in Northwest Innovation Works, Kalama, and provide and operate purpose-built next-generation ships to serve the planned methanol facility at the Port of Kalama in southwest Washington, USA.


The planned facility in Kalama, scheduled to commence operation in 2024, will convert regionally sourced natural gas to methanol to be transported via ship for use in dedicated materials pathway production in Asia, with a strong focus on China.

The partners are yet to define the details on how many ships would be required for the project as the logistic aspects of its development are still being studied.

MOL has no ships on order for the project at the moment as Offshore Energy – Green Marine understands from sources familiar with the matter.

The planned site is set to be located alongside the Columbia River on the industrially zoned property at the Port of Kalama.

The methanol will be used to produce materials, including olefins, the primary components in numerous products, including medical devices, such as masks, gowns, gloves, and eye protection, recreational equipment, clothing, cell phones, and furniture.

“By participating in this project, MOL will obtain a deeper knowledge of overall methanol activities, allowing the company to provide better services and solutions for its customers,” MOL said.

NWIW wants to produce the most environmentally sustainable and least carbon-intensive industrial-scale methanol for clean essential materials and thus cut global GHG emissions.

The company said it would use ultra-low-emissions and zero liquid discharge technologies at the facility, which is expected to cost over $2 billion to develop. Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technology insures that no wastewater from plant operations is released into the Columbia River.

As disclosed, the project will result in over 1,000 new construction jobs and up to 200 permanent direct family-wage jobs, as well as providing $30 to $40 million in annual tax payments paid to state and local governments.