A $3.6 billion, four-unit methanol complex proposed in Plaquemines Parish has been issued an air quality permit by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

Houston-based IGP Methanol LLC plans to produce 7.2 million tons per year of methanol from natural gas when the Gulf Coast Methanol Park is completed on a 140-acre Mississippi River site near Myrtle Grove. 

The complex will consist of four identical methanol plants, each producing 1.8 million tons per year. Production is planned to begin in late 2020, the company said. The facility will employ up to 1,500 construction workers per plant, and more than 325 permanent operation and maintenance jobs. 

"We have invested years of work and very significant capital to design and engineer what we believe is the largest, and at the same time, the lowest-emission methanol plant in the world, per ton of production," said James S. Lamoureaux, IGP's managing director. 

"IGP has already selected technology and engineering providers, natural gas supply, gas transportation, oxygen and nitrogen supply, as well as storage and loading partners," Lamoureaux said.

Methanol is a feedstock chemical for making thousands of everyday consumer products. IGP also said it has potential as a fuel that can replace gasoline and diesel in transportation, and replace liquid petroleum gas, coal, wood and kerosene in cooking fuel and industrial boilers. It also can replace diesel in railways and power generation.