Extended Trinidad gas cutback raised spot methanol – sources

16 March 2011 22:43  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The extension of a natural gas curtailment in Trinidad raised spot methanol prices this week, market sources said on Wednesday.

US methanol spot prices went up 2–3 cents/gal this week, which methanol sources attributed to the move by National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago (NGCTT) to extend its cutback on gas deliveries for methanol, ammonia and other petrochemical producers until 1 April.

The gas curtailment began in mid-February – the second by National Gas since December 2010 – and was initially expected to end this week, according to producers.

When the cutback was announced, spot methanol ranged from 100.00–103.50 cents/gal, and went down that week. Sources expected the cutback to have little impact. Since then spot methanol has risen 9% to 110–111 cents/gal.

Trinidad's National Gas said in February that it would curtail gas deliveries by 20–30% to the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, which includes manufacturers of ammonia, urea, methanol and petrochemicals.

A source at Southern Chemical (SCC) said the company could not comment on the extension.

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

In February, an SCC company source said the curtailment might impact SCC’s shipments if the curtailment lasted longer than the originally-planned two weeks.

Calls to Methanex were not returned immediately.

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 = €0.71)

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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