Change is coming: Chinese company Yuhuang to begin construction of $1.85 billion methanol plant in rural St. James Parish _lowres

Officials break ground for the Yuhuang Chemical Inc. plant in St. James in 2015. Koch Methanol Investments LLC has acquired a majority ownership stake in the joint venture company that is constructing the $1.85 billion facility.

Koch Methanol Investments LLC has acquired a majority ownership stake in a joint venture company that is constructing a $1.85 billion methanol production facility in St. James Parish and also is evaluating an expansion that would more than double production.

Houston-based Koch Methanol and Yuhuang Chemical Industries Inc., a subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co., recapitalized the joint venture, known as YCI Methanol One LLC. As a result of the transaction, Koch Methanol is the indirect, majority owner and managing member of the joint venture.

As part of its original investment, affiliates of Koch Methanol received the exclusive rights to methanol from the new facility, expected to be as high as 1.7 million metric tons per year, as well as the rights to construct, own and operate the a methanol terminal to ship methanol by marine, rail and truck.

YCI said it is on track and on budget for a Phase I completion in the third quarter of 2020. It also said an expansion is being considered. The methanol complex is on more than 1,200 acres the company purchased along River Road, between the Mississippi River and La. 3127, in 2015 and on the former site of the old St. James High School in St. James Parish. Construction of the $1.85 billion complex began in January 2017. Yuhuang Chemical first announced the St. James project in 2014.