30 July 2012 09:01 [Source: ICIS news]
By Heng Hui
On 27 July, prices were assessed at $360-370/tonne (€292-300/tonne) CFR (cost and freight) SE (southeast) Asia and at $355-365/tonne CFR NE (northeast) Asia, stable from the previous week, according to ICIS.
A 660,000 tonne/year methanol plant operated by major Malaysian producer PETRONAS Chemicals Group (PCG) had to shut production on 26 July following a fatal blast and fire at a vessel loading methanol from the unit in
Four of the 29 crew members of the ship were killed at the incident, with one still missing, ship owner MISC said in a statement over the weekend.
PETRONAS Methanol Labuan No 1 plant (PML 1) was taken off line as a safety precaution, while PML 2 – which has a bigger capacity of 1.7m tonnes/year – was allowed to continue operations, PCG had said.
A jetty in
“We are still investigating the situation and do not know when the restart [of PML 1] is,” a source from PCG said.
The firm’s PML 2 unit is currently running at higher rates as compared to last year’s erratic production, the source said, without providing the plant’s actual run rate.
The shutdown of PCG’s smaller methanol unit in
Asia is a net importer of methanol, with the
Spot price gains in
In the Korean and Taiwanese markets, buyers are not keen to procure cargoes given their current high inventory against weak demand, market sources said.
The fire-hit vessel Bunga Alipinia was supposed to deliver possibly around 30,000 tonnes of methanol to customers in northeast
The vessel was supposed to call at south and east
It was heard the cargo on the vessel was sold by two Japanese traders besides PETRONAS. The vessel loaded 15,000 tonnes of methanol from
At the Labuan port in
PETRONAS is continuing to supply to contract customers, having just sent out a ship nomination for cargoes to be loaded in the second half of August, one of its buyers in southeast Asia said.
Inventory from PML1 and PML2 are interconnected, and the plant has the option of diverting to other jetties when required, the PCG source said.
“We will not sell below $370s/tonne CFR Asia for August delivery, as selling below that would mean it is lower than our term prices,” a PCG source said.
($1 = €0.81)
Additional reporting by Nurluqman Suratman
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