Malaysia's PETRONAS shuts 660,000 tonne/year methanol plant

15 September 2011 05:54  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Malaysia’s state-owned oil giant PETRONAS shut its 660,000 tonne/year PETRONAS Methanol Labuan (PML) 1 unit early this week, while its 1.7m tonne/year PML2 unit is running erratically at low rates, sources from PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) said on Thursday.

It is understood the average operating rates of PML2 might be lower than 50%. PML1 and PML2 are located at Labuan, off the coast of Sabah in East Malaysia.

PML2 is not running at full rates because of low natural gas supply and PML1 was shut because of an outage, the source said.

“The shutdown is expected to last for two weeks,” the source said.

A deal of $395/tonne (€288/tonne) CFR (cost & freight) SE (southeast) Asia had been reported, up by $5/tonne from Friday, according to ICIS.

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

The force majeure by BP PETRONAS Acetyls (BPPA) at its downstream acetic acid plant has not increased the spot supply of methanol as the demand for the feedstock exceeds supply, some market participants said.

A source close to the company said the acetic acid plant does not take methanol from PETRONAS’s plants.

BPPA declined to comment on its methanol consumption and its current operating status when contacted by ICIS.

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

Other regional methanol producers include Indonesia’s Kaltim.

($1 = €0.73)

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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