The shale gas revolution in the United States has spurred the resurgence of the country's energy-intensive sectors, especially the chemicals industry. Recognising the long-term economic potential of shale resources early on, OCI - a global producer of natural gas-based fertilisers and industrial chemicals and an acclaimed engineering and construction contractor - invested in 2011 in the rehabilitation of a mothballed methanol and ammonia plant in Beaumont, Texas. Last year, OCI launched an initial public offering of the rehabilitated facility's common units on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the name OCI Partners (OCIP). "Making that early decision to take the risk and join the shale gas bandwagon when it was just starting to gain momentum gave us first-mover advantage," says Omar Darwazah, OCIP's director of investor relations. "With our foresight, we've turned our US$300 million initial investment in the Beaumont plant into an operation with an equity value of about US$1.7 billion today." Strategically located on a 28-acre site on the Texas Gulf Coast, the Beaumont plant has an annual production capacity of 730,000 metric tonnes of methanol and 265,000 metric tonnes of anhydrous ammonia. The plant is equipped with state-of-the-art production and environmental control technologies to support high operating rates, maximised feedstock consumption and minimal waste. It ranks as the largest US merchant methanol producer based on nameplate capacity. To optimise production efficiencies at the factory, OCIP is carrying out a de-bottlenecking project that will lift annual methanol and ammonia capacities by 25 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, by the fourth quarter. "The additional capacity is intended to help reduce the country's current import deficit and meet the demand increase for methanol driven by emerging applications," Darwazah says. "In the foreseeable future, we expect methanol use to increase globally as a clean direct fuel substitute for vehicles." Structured as a master limited partnership, OCIP offers high-dividend-yielding stocks and distributes 100 per cent of the cash available to its unitholders in the form of quarterly dividends. With Dutch firm OCI as parent, the partnership has a technically strong sponsor with an impeccable entrepreneurial track record. OCI Partners http://www.ocipartnerslp.com OCI has two US greenfield projects - the world-scale methanol plant in Beaumont and a nitrogen fertiliser facility in Iowa. "We are continuously assessing organic and inorganic opportunities to generate more value to our public unitholders, offering them a great return on their investments," Darwazah says. "We are open to forming joint ventures with reputable partners where we can leverage their operational expertise and vice versa."