19 Jan 2012

Taranaki methanol plant deal brings job boost

3:02 pm on 19 January 2012

Methanex New Zealand says its moves to reopen another manufacturing plant in Taranaki have already benefited the local economy.

The methanol producer has signed a 10-year gas supply agreement with petroleum company Todd Energy which will allow it to start production at a second plant at its Motunui facility, north of New Plymouth, in July.

Methanex managing director Harvey Weake says that will allow it to double its production to up to 1.5 million tonnes a year.

He says 300 to 400 contractors will be needed over the next six months to get the plant up and running.

"There's just a tremendous amount of equipment there that needs to be inspected, certified, made sure that it's safe and ready for action."

Mr Weake says many of the contractors will be coming from the Taranaki region.

He says the company has hired another 165 fulltime employees in preparation for running the larger facility.

Taranaki Chamber of Commerce president Grant McQuoid says the increase in employment will have a flow-on effect throughout the region.

New Plymouth mayor Harry Duynhoven says reopening the plant will be very helpful to Taranaki and there is definitely the engineering capability to do the work.