EPCA ’10: Buyers see flat demand growth for Europe methanol

03 October 2010 13:00  [Source: ICIS news]

BUDAPEST (ICIS)--There is little expectation that future European methanol consumption will increase significantly above current levels, buyers said at an industry meeting on Sunday.

Although methanol-based operations were generally running at high rates, particularly in northern and western Europe, buyers said they do not expect to see much growth in overall European capacity, with the majority of global development concentrated in Asia.

Buyers were speaking on the sidelines of the 44th annual European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) meeting in Budapest, Hungary.

“Our peak [consumption] was in 2007 and we’ve been pretty flat since then, at around 85-90%. There will probably be some growth in eastern Europe, but it will mostly be in Asia. That’s where the demand for end-products is, so it makes sense to be near your customer,” said a formaldehyde producer based in Europe.

Another reason for the disparity in the two regions’ expected growth rates is the fact that energy and fuel applications, such as dimethyl ether (DME) production, is largely restricted to Asia.

“The energy uses haven’t really taken off in Europe, and that is the one of the biggest areas of [methanol] growth,” said another buyer.

One such example of new methanol-for-energy usage is the DME plant under construction by Arrtu Mega Energie in Java, Indonesia, which one Middle East-based producer estimated would consume 1.8m tonnes/year of methanol.

This year’s EPCA meeting runs from 2-6 October.

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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