A continuous process for producing methanol including the steps of producing synthesis gas i.e. H.sub.2 + CO by the partial oxidation of a hydrocarbonaceous feed in a free-flow non-catalytic synthesis gas generator, adjusting the mole ratio (H.sub.2 /CO) of the process gas stream to a value in the range of about greater than 2 to 12 by noncatalytic thermal direct water-gas shift, cooling the process gas stream by indirect heat exchange with water to produce steam for use in the process, purifying the gas stream preferably with a portion of the methanol product, catalytically reacting the purified synthesis gas stream under methanol producing conditions, and separating methanol from liquid impurities. All steps are preferably carried out at a pressure which is substantially that in the synthesis gas generator less ordinary line drop. Optionally, a portion of the liquid impurities e.g. dimethylether, water, and mixed alcohols, are introduced into the synthesis gas generator to reduce the specific consumption of free-oxygen gas and to increase the yield of synthesis gas.