SOURCE: Sightline Institute

DATE: July 2, 2018

SNIP: The methanol refinery proposed for Kalama, Washington, is, by any measure, a goliath. On the banks of the Columbia River in southwest Washington, the project’s backers aim to build a petrochemical plant to convert natural gas, much of it fracked, into liquid methanol for export to China’s plastics industry and vehicle fleet.

Operating the facility at full capacity would require staggering volumes of gas.

A new Sightline analysis finds that the project’s demand for gas would dwarf the consumption of the Northwest’s biggest cities combined. Even adding up all the gas used by every home, business, and industry in Seattle, Portland, Tacoma, Spokane, Bellevue, Eugene, Bellingham, and Corvallis, it does not come close to equaling the voracious appetite of the methanol export plans at Kalama.

Supplying that much gas would be a climate disaster. Researchers at Stockholm Environment Institute calculated that simply extracting and transporting the volumes of gas required by the facility could produce 4 million tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent more than than is emitted by every activity in the city of Seattle annually—and that’s just the total owing to methane leaks along the supply chain and does not include emissions at the site itself or when the methanol is ultimately used.