Malaysia's PETRONAS eyes July restart for Labuan methanol plant

24 June 2011 10:03  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Malaysia’s state-owned oil giant PETRONAS intends to restart its 1.7m tonne/year No 2 methanol plant in Labuan by early July, a source from the company’s marketing arm said on Friday.

Plant operations were halted in the second week of June as supply of feedstock natural gas was disrupted because of maintenance at some gas fields in Sabah, the source from PETRONAS Chemicals Marketing Sdn Bhd (PCM) said.

“We have deferred our Korean and Taiwan contracts. We have reduced our obligations in Southeast Asia to the minimal contractual quantities, but this is still within our commitments to customers,” the source said, disputing allegations that the company had put customers on 50% allocation.

Meanwhile, PETRONAS’ 660,000 tonne/year No 1 methanol plant at the same site in Labuan, Sabah, in eastern Malaysia, is currently running at full capacity, the source said.

The shutdown of PETRONAS’ megaplant has significantly reduced spot methanol supply in the region as it coincided with an outage of Brunei Methanol’s 850,000 tonne/year plant, market sources said.

Some buyers told ICIS they were willing to buy at $370/tonne (€259/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) Southeast Asia, which is $10/tonne higher than last week’s assessed levels.

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

PCM, previously known as Malaysian International Trading Corporation Sdn Bhd (MITCO), is the marketing, trading and procurement arm of PETRONAS, the national petroleum corporation of Malaysia.

Other regional methanol producers include Indonesia’s Kaltim and Brunei Methanol Company.

($1 = €0.70)

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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