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The demand for methanol is very strong and growing significantly, especially in large, rapidly expanding markets like China. According to global research firm IHS, global methanol demand is expected to increase nearly 80 percent in the near term - from 60.7 million metric tons in 2013 to more than 109 MMT by 2023, with an average annual growth rate of 6 percent.
Methanol is used to produce olefins - the building blocks for plastics and other synthetic products. Plastic products manufacturing is one of China's national strategic plans. Many large construction projects designed to expand the country's olefin production capacity are underway now in China.
Currently, China's demand for methanol is mostly met from domestic Chinese coal. It's well known that China's overuse of coal is causing severe and widespread air and water pollution issues, a significant impediment to China's progress. Coal as a source of methanol production will be increasingly restricted as new Chinese government regulations are going into effect.
With this in mind, many Chinese companies are currently seeking alternative sources of methanol outside of China and are interested in making large investments in the United States. In addition, these Chinese companies are actively seeking local U.S. partners for such endeavors and are very interested in projects like BHE's that are well developed and packaged for major investment.