Houston-based G2X Energy broke ground in mid-January on a large scale methanol production plant Lake Charles, La.

The Big Lake Fuels Methanol Plant is being constructed on a 200-acre site and is designed to produce 1.4 million metric tons of commercial grade methanol per year. It will also be constructed with the necessary equipment and facilities to convert methanol into automotive gasoline.

Switzerland-based Proman Group, a leader in the building of methanol and ammonia plants, is serving as the EPC contractor. Southern Chemical Corporation is also a partner in the project.

“We are estimating the construction of this facility will add 2,500 direct and indirect jobs to the Lake Charles area and will take approximately three years to complete," said Tim Vail, President and CEO of G2X Energy, in a press release.

G2X has an additional 400 acres at the site available for future expansion, which Vail says could include additional methanol capacity and possibly other products such as fertilizer and ammonia. The $1.6 billion project is expected to begin commercial operation by the first half of 2019.

The Big Lake Fuels Methanol Plant is the latest to break ground of more than a half dozen large-scale, chemical projects in south Louisiana which are capitalizing on low natural gas prices and the state's strong industrial infrastructure. Other projects under construction include the $8.1 billion Sasol ethylene plant near Lake Charles and the $1.85 billion Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. plant and $360 million Syngas plant in St. James Parish.