Malaysia's PETRONAS runs methanol plants at low rates

19 May 2011 05:58  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Malaysia’s state-owned oil giant PETRONAS is running its 1.7m tonne/year PETRONAS Methanol Labuan (PML2) at 50% capacity while its 660,000 tonne/year PML1 is shut, sources from MITCO said on Thursday.

PML2 is not running at full rates because of low natural gas supply, following maintenance of some gas field units, a source said.

PETRONAS intends to shut its PML2 unit in June for maintenance, said MITCO sources.

Meanwhile, PML1 had several technical faults while it was being restarted after a scheduled maintenance in March, the source added.

There were problems restarting the boiler and gas separation units, another source from MITCO said.

No restart dates for PML1 were disclosed.

Market players said spot supply is extremely limited because of the low production rates at PETRONAS, which is the biggest methanol producer in the region.

PML1 and PML2 are located at Labuan, off the coast of Sabah.

Methanol is used to make formaldehyde, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), methylamines, methyl methacrylate (MMA) and acetic acid.

MITCO is the marketing, trading and procurement arm of PETRONAS, the national petroleum corporation of Malaysia.

Other regional methanol producers include Indonesia’s Kaltim.

For more on methanol, please visit ICIS chemical intelligence
Please visit the complete ICIS plants and projects database

By: Heng Hui
+65 6780 4359

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