Methanex expects Damietta plant back on stream in 1-2 weeks

25 November 2011 16:01  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Methanex has begun the process of restarting its 1.3m tonne/year methanol plant in Damietta, Egypt, but it does not expect it to reach full operation for another one or two weeks, a source with the Canada-based company said on Friday.

The plant was closed on 13 November when protests erupted in the area against Egyptian state firm Misr Oil Processing (MOPCO), which co-owns a local fertilizer plant with Canada-based firm Agrium. Damitta port was also closed following the protests, in which two people were killed.

The Methanex source said its workers had returned to the site but that the plant’s restart was dependent on their safety. The one-to-two week timeline will only be met “provided the situation remains under control. Our priority is the people,” the source said.

The closure initially pushed up European methanol spot prices by €17–19/tonne ($23–25/tonne) FOB (free on board) Rotterdam last week to a high of €275/tonne. However, when the port in Damietta was reopened last Friday there was speculation that the methanol plant would quickly recommence production and in the first half of this week deals were done at €264-268/tonne.

However, when it became clear that Methanex was still buying product, price ideas soon increased again, with a deal for January material confirmed at €275.50/tonne. December deals were heard to have been done in the low €270s/tonne, but these were not confirmed.

Methanex confirmed it has bought several parcels this week but on a P&C (private and confidential) basis.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Ross Yeo
+44 208 652 3214

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