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County to consider methanol project in the public interest

The County of Grande Prairie believes Nauticol Energy’s proposed methanol plant to be in the public interest. Councillors have agreed to write a letter in support of the petrochemical company as the two partners continue their push to build the $2 billion project.

Reeve Leanne Beaupre says the latest on the project is promising, as some big steps have been taken between the county and the Government of Alberta, as a process that began in October 2019 has finally come to a close.

“We now own the land that Nauticol will be purchasing from the County of Grande Prairie, which is a step in the right direction. It was a piece of leased land that the province owned, and so the transfer has taken a little longer than we expected it to, but we now have that title in the control of the county.”

The facility, which would produce three million metric tonnes of methanol a year from 300 million cubic feet of natural gas a day, will be built on property formerly owned by International Paper, near the Weyerhaeuser pulp mill south of the City of Grande Prairie.

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Beaupre says the timeline through the process, as of now, remains fluid. However, she believes that Nauticol is pursuing as many leads as possible when it comes to capital investment.

“The investment world has shrunk, and a lot of national investment is maybe not necessarily as available as they’d like to, so they’re looking at international investment,” she explains. “With international investment is a whole other suite of checks and balances.”

The hope is that declaring the project to be in the public’s will help with investor decisions. The building of the plant is expected to create more than 1,000 local jobs, with a further 400 jobs required on-site when construction is complete. Nauticol Energy has also requested a similar letter of support the City of Grande Prairie, which is expected to be discussed at the committee level next week.

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