Our Story

YCI Methanol One, LLC (YCI) – a US subsidiary of Shangdong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd. (SYCC) – started its venture in the US with an ambitious plan: build a world scale chemical complex on 1,300 acres of farm land in St James Parish, Louisiana. At the time of the announcement in 2014, it was the largest green field foreign direct investment by a Chinese company in the US. The first phase of a planned multi-phase project will see more than $1.85 billion dollars of total investment expended.

The North American subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co. Ltd., YCI Methanol One, LLC. (YCI) operates a corporate office in Houston, and is developing its first major U.S. project in St. James Parish in Louisiana. The world-scale project will entail three phases, with construction on the first phase beginning in the fourth quarter of 2017.

“We plan to complete the first phase of the industrial complex, a world-scale methanol unit, in late 2017 with an initial production capacity of 1.7 million tons of methanol a year scheduled to be online in Q4 2019.”

“Our success is a result of having a strong core of professionals on our team, Chairman Wang’s vision, and the support from our group company (SYCC). Our focus in the execution of our project has always been the safe design, construction and operation of our methanol plant, insuring compliance with environmental regulations.”

– Charlie Yao, CEO of YCI Methanol One, LLC.

It is projected that about 60 percent of the methanol produced by the first phase of the project will sold to North American customers and distributed by barges, rail cars and trucks.. The remaining 40 percent will be exported mainly to Europe, NE Asia and China, where a certain percentage could be used by SYCC in China.

When the first phase is completed, the YCI St. James plant will have over 100 permanent employees. After the first methanol plant is completed, Yuhuang plans to continue to execute their multi-phase strategy, developing the 1,300 acre site into a world-class chemical manufacturing complex. Eventually, the complex will employ several hundred employees.

Our Leadership

Dr. Charlie Yao is currently CEO of YCI Methanol One, LLC., the US subsidiary of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Ltd. Co.

Dr. Charlie Yao has over 10 years of industrial technical and manufacturing experiences in chemical and petrochemical industry and more than 15 years of business management experiences ranging from sales, marketing, commercial management, capital investment management and supply chain management.

Charlie Yao received his BS Chemistry degree from Wuhan University in China, his Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of Houston, and MBA from University of Texas-Austin.

Dr. Yao has served as the president of Chinese Association of Professionals in Science and Technology (CAPST). He is a recipient of the Distinguished International Alumni Award from the University of Houston. He currently is a board member of the College of Technology at University of Houston.

Jerry Oliver, Vice President, Business Operations, YCI Methanol One, LLC., has over 40 years of energy related project and technical business management experience.

He recently left Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions where he was leading their Sales, Business Development and Proposal organization in the America’s. During the past 8 years, in addition to working for Air Liquide, Mr. Oliver has also provided consulting services to Avello Bioenergy, Southern Power, Edison Welding Institute (EWI) and the Department of Energy (DOE). He served as the first Chairman of the Nuclear Fabrication Consortium from 2009 through 2010. Mr. Oliver spent 2008 as Executive Vice President, Project Development at Great Point Energy and 2006 to 2008 as Senior Vice President, Project Development for the FutureGen Industrial Alliance on FutureGen 1.0.

He spent the prior 13 plus years with Bechtel in a variety of senior executive roles. His work in Bechtel involved a technology and management leadership role (Principal Vice President) with Bechtel’s Petroleum and Chemicals business line from 1993 to 2001. From 2001 to 2006, he managed Bechtel’s Industrial and Telecommunications Asia Pacific business line and the Bechtel-CITIC Chinese joint venture while based in Shanghai, China.

Before joining Bechtel, Mr. Oliver spent 20 plus years working for BP-SOHIO, Exxon and Kennecott. During the late 1980’s, he was responsible for technical services for SOHIO’s Old Ben Coal subsidiary and was the President of AFT, a wholly owned coal technology subsidiary of BP/SOHIO. During the early 1980’s he headed up SOHIO’s Synthetic Fuels business which included coal gasification, oil shale development and a variety of other alternate energy activities. He worked in the Uranium mining business for both Exxon and SOHIO during the 1970’s in Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico.

From 1982 to 1984 he was the chairman of the American Petroleum Institute’s Synfuels Committee and is currently a member of both ASCE and AIME. He also served on the National Coal Council, a Federal Advisory Board under the Secretary of Energy, from 1991 to the present. He has a BS degree in Geology from NMIMT and an MBA from Western New Mexico University. He served as an officer in the US Navy during the Vietnam conflict (1970-1972) and is a Purple Heart recipient.

Jerry Jones is a founding member of the Bradley Murchison Kelly & Shea Law firm. His practice areas include assisting both private and public entities with local, state, and federal governmental regulation; economic development; environmental regulation and compliance; zoning and land use; energy; oil & gas; utility and municipal franchise agreements; public works; local government annexation; political subdivision governance; reapportionment and redistricting; contract negotiations and disputes; contract administration; and business litigation.

Jerry served as City Attorney for the City of Shreveport, Louisiana for eight years prior to returning to private practice. He was appointed by Governor-elect Bobby Jindal to the Government and Fiscal Reform Transition committee. He was also appointed to Louisiana’s Board of Commerce and Industry by Governor Jindal and served as Board Chairman and Vice Chairman.

Jerry has been admitted to practice in Louisiana, all United States District Courts in Louisiana, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Frank Benavente is the IPMT (Integrated Project Management Team) Director with YCl Methanol One, LLC.. Mr. Benavente has over 23 years of experience in areas of operations management, project management, and field engineering and supervision for upstream and downstream projects. Mr. Benavente has extensive experience in mega to large scale capital and revamp projects for refining, petrochemical, and oil and gas sectors through all project phases including EPC / EPCm execution. Mr. Benavente’s experience includes a broad range of international and domestic projects with on-site construction experience and 4 years on expat assignments.

Mr. Benavente has a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Shelby Song is currently Project Delivery Director of YCI Methanol One. LLC., USA.

Dr. Shelby Song has over 28 years of experiences in oil & gas engineering, construction and project management in Major Capital Projects (MCP), with focus areas including: oil and gas plants, gathering system, floating production system, fixed platforms, pipeline, petrochemical & chemical plants, LNG plants and terminals. Her Chevron MCP (with multi-billion dollar capital projects) management experiences include: Chevron KRI oil & gas project – engineering manager; Chevron Wheatstone LNG plant expansion project – offshore engineering manager; Chevron Buckskin & Mocassin (BSM) oil & gas project –Floating Production Unit engineering manager; Chevron ChuanDongBei (CDB) gas plant project – delivery coordinator.

Shelby Song received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering and MBA from University of Houston and she holds a Professional Engineer license in Texas.

Dr. Song is a recipient of the “Outstanding Employee Award” in Chevron CDB project from Chinese National Petroleum Co. (CNPC) JV partner.

Lynn Gautreau is currently the Human Resource Manager for YCI Methanol One, LLC. located at the St. James facility in Louisiana.

Ms. Gautreau has over 30 years of Human Resource experience, 20 years within the Chemical Manufacturing industry. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, the local Industrial Relations Group and the VCC. She has specialized in employee relations, contract negotiation, performance management, succession planning, compensation, benefits and policy creation/implementation.

Lynn Gautreau received her BS Degree in Human Resource Management from Louisiana State University. She has also obtained her PHR and SPHR Certifications. Her prior chemical manufacturing experience includes Kaiser Aluminum Chemical Corporation, LaRoche Industries, Dow Chemical via Kelly Engineering Services, Ormet Primary Aluminum Corporation and most recently with Almatis Burnside Inc., a specialty alumina producer based in Frankfurt, Germany.

Jim Tidwell is currently the Plant Manager for the YCI Methanol One, LLC. facility located in St. James, Louisiana.

Mr. Tidwell has over 35 years of industrial, technical, and manufacturing experiences in the chemical industry with expertise in engineering, design, construction, commissioning, startup and plant operations of numerous chemical processes. He has worked for Tetra Technologies and Great Lakes Chemical as plant manager and Director of Engineering for Clean Harbors. Jim has been involved in commissioning and startup of over 10 chemical processes.

Jim received his BS Chemical Engineering degree from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee and his MBA from University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.

Jim has been actively involved in community service as Chairman of the El Dorado Chamber, the South Arkansas Community College Foundation along with several other charitable organizations.

Xing Guan, CFO, Project Finance Director of YCI Methanol One, LLC., USA and also the Vice President of Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co., Ltd. (the parent company of YCI Methanol One, LLC.) has over 10 years of financial management and capital operation experience.

Before joining YCI Methanol One, LLC., USA, Mr. Guan spent 6 plus years working for the parent company. He was responsible for financial management, tax management, and capital operation for Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co., Ltd. He took charge of the standardization and tax planning of the entire group financial system; led the financing team successfully issued SYCC corporate of bonds in China; corporate bonds in Hong Kong and Singapore; and YCI methanol syndicated loan for YCI Methanol One, LLC., USA with the team.

Before joining Shandong Yuhuang Chemical Co., Ltd., Mr. Guan spent 3 plus years served as CICPA at China Audit International Certified Public Accountants, presided over listed companies, large enterprises annual audit, IPO audit, etc.

Mr. Guan’s professional experience also includes statistics, and he holds the senior statistician title in China.

James brings over 21 years of financial management experience and proven leadership skills. In his most recent roles James provided economic asset valuations and fund raising efforts as CFO for an O&G investor group followed by Controller for Noltex chemical plant, a Mitsubishi subsidiary. These assignments were preceded with CFO roles for two small, growth oriented, companies where James directed all treasury, risk, compliance, planning, and accounting functions, while being the primary interface with external legal and financial partners. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors and Investment Management Committee for one of the companies.

Prior to his CFO roles, James held various finance management positions with Hess Corporation and BP. As Finance & Administration Manager at Hess Corporation, he ensured the financial integrity and planning functions of various O&G assets, which included international exposure and an assignment in Libya. James was the finance representative in the Operating Management Committee of an EPSA joint venture between Hess and the Libyan NOC where he managed the financial execution of a $150MM offshore exploration well. At BP, he performed controllership duties for upstream and midstream plant assets. James initiated his work at BP through PricewaterhouseCoopers. His career began in commercial and corporate banking, serving as finance analyst for Dai Ichi Kangyo Bank and Comerica Bank.

James holds a BBA degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is a Certified Public Accountant.