US spot methanol stable as market sorts out Trinidad gas cutback

18 February 2011 18:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Spot prices for US methanol held steady on Friday as the market sorted out the impact from another natural gas curtailment in Trinidad.

The National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago announced on 13 February that it would cut back deliveries of natural gas by 20-30% to the Point Lisas complex of methanol, ammonia, urea and petrochemical plants for about two weeks.

It marks the second gas curtailment by National Gas in the past three months.

A market source said methanol spot free on board (FOB) prices for February delivery had dropped week on week to 100.00-102.00 cents/gal, while the March spot barge range tightened some to 102.5-103.5 cents/gal.

The spot range closed a week ago at 102.00-104.00 cents/gal.

A source at Southern Chemical (SCC) said the Trinidad curtailment had not caused any change in the company’s shipping schedule.

"Right now, we’re okay," the source said.

SCC is the North American marketer for MHTL, which is the operator of the M5000 plant and four others in Point Lisas that give it a total capacity of 4m tonnes/year.

The source added that shipments could change if the curtailment lasted longer than the planned two weeks.

"This is not something we deal with a lot," the source said.

A spokeswoman for Methanex in Trinidad, Deborah Samaru, said the cutback might affect the company’s production at its two plants there. But she did not provide any details on the size of the cutback.

Methanex has two plants in Trinidad – the 850,000 tonne/year Titan plant and the 1.7m tonne/year Atlas plant, which is a joint venture between Methanex and BP Trinidad and Tobago.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Lane Kelley
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