12 September 2012 17:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Methanex’s Atlas methanol plant in Trinidad and Tobago will go down in October to coincide with natural gas cutbacks there because of work being done on two offshore natural gas platforms, industry sources said on Wednesday.
Methanex officials could not be reached immediately for more details.
Trinidad’s Energy Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday saying Methanex and three other chemical and gas producers had scheduled plant maintenance to coincide with work being done for 34-50-day periods on BP’s Kapok and the British Gas (BG) Dolphin platforms extending to 23 October.
“It should be noted that each of these companies have more than one plant and not all of them will be off line at the same time,” said the statement issued by the Energy Ministry.
BP and BG are Trinidad and Tobago’s largest natural gas producers, according to the statement.
Methanex has two plants in Trinidad: the 1.8m tonne/year Atlas unit and the 850,000 tonne/year Titan plant, both at the Point Lisas Industrial Estate.
Sources close to the plant would not say how long the Atlas work would take. One source said the work on a catalyst change would last for most of October.
Last week, the National Gas Co (NGC) of Trinidad and Tobago notified local chemical plants that a previously announced curtailment in natural gas deliveries of up to 30% during the month of September would begin sometime between 10-20 September. The NGC attributed the curtailments to limited supply from gas supplier BG Trinidad and Tobago (BGTT).
Natural gas cutbacks have become routine over the past 18 months on the Caribbean island, which supplies 65-70% of US methanol imports in any given month.
Repair work being done on offshore platforms has prompted numerous gas curtailments in Trinidad since late 2010, which have reduced methanol, ammonia and other chemical production.
Methanol production in Trinidad dropped 9.5% in the first six months this year, compared with the same period of 2011, according to the country’s Central Bank. Natural gas production in Trinidad declined 3% in the same period.
US methanol spot prices moved up in late August on news of the September-October curtailments, but have not budged since, currently around $1.11/gal.
($1 = €0.78)
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