Argentina Announces Increase to Natural Gas Export Duty
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA—(Marketwire - March 12, 2008) - Methanex Corporation (TSX:MX)(NASDAQ:MEOH)(SANTIAGO:Methanex) -
The Argentine Government has increased the natural gas export duty from 45% to 100% of the highest contracted import price of natural gas into Argentina. Currently, it is expected that this would represent an export duty of approximately US$7/mmbtu. Our gas contracts provide that the gas suppliers must pay any duties levied by the government of Argentina. Methanex has not received official notification that gas supply would be restored to its plants.
Methanex's Latin America Senior Vice President, Paul Schiodtz, commented, "We are disappointed in the way the export duties were implemented as we believe it did not take into consideration the impact on the economy of southern Chile. We have been operating our plants at only 30% capacity since June 2007 as a result of the curtailments of natural gas exports from Argentina. In addition, there is no excess pipeline capacity available to transport the gas from southern Argentina to the most populated regions of that country. Given the announcement of increased duties, we do not expect to change the operating rate of our plants."
Mr. Schiodtz added, "As we have stated previously, our long term strategy is to source more gas supply from Chile. In that context, we expect new exploration projects in the Magallanes Region of Chile by ENAP and other international oil and gas companies will continue to be developed with a sense of urgency."
Methanex is a Vancouver-based, publicly traded company engaged in the worldwide production, distribution and marketing of methanol. Methanex shares are listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in Canada under the trading symbol "MX", on the NASDAQ Global Market in the United States under the trading symbol "MEOH" and on the foreign securities market of the Santiago Stock Exchange in Chile under the trading symbol "Methanex". Methanex can be visited online at www.methanex.com.
Director, Investor Relations