More gas cutbacks likely in Trinidad for methanol producers

23 September 2011 22:57  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Methanol producers in Trinidad should expect more natural gas cutbacks in October, a seller said on Friday.

According to a statement from Southern Chemical Corp (SCC), the ongoing gas curtailment for the Caribbean country’s methanol plants should extend into October.

US methanol spot prices have shown little movement all week, at 118.5-119.5 cents/gal on Friday, slightly higher than 117-119 cents/gal a week ago.

The SCC said there are two gas producing platforms out of service, plus a leak in an offshore gas pipeline. The statement said flow rates for that pipeline had been reduced so the leaks could be repaired.

In addition, the SCC said the 480,000 tonne/year M1 methanol plant owned by Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Limited (MHTL) had been taken down for repairs to coincide with the latest curtailment.

SCC said the M1 plant’s gas supply has been cut by 30%.

“The other plants are cut back by about 20%,” the SCC said. “There is no confirmation as to how long the current shortage will last. Indications are there will be another gas shortfall in October.”

SCC is MHTL’s North American methanol marketer. Trinidad supplies 71% of US methanol imports, according to the most recent data from the US International Trade Commission.

Problems at Trinidad’s offshore natural gas platforms have caused gas cutbacks for the entire Point Lisas Industrial Estate for most of this year. Ammonia and other chemical producers have also been affected.

($1 = €0.74)

For more on methanol visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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