Trinidad, Mitsubishi agree on $850m methanol-to-petchem project

09 April 2013 00:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Trinidad and Tobago and a group led by Mitsubishi Gas Chemical signed an agreement on Monday to build an $850m (€655m) methanol-to-petrochem project in a new industrial area on the Caribbean island.

The project, first announced in early December 2012, would convert methanol to di-methyl ether (DME) and be built at the Union Industrial Estate in La Brea, according to a statement from Trinidad’s energy minister, Kevin Ramnarine.

The project represents a geographic shift in Trinidad away from the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, where most of the tiny island’s petrochemical plants are located.

The government wants a second petrochemical complex at La Brea, in southwestern Trinidad, where a new port is being built.

The project’s first phase, expected for start-up in 2016, will produce 1m tonnes of methanol and 100,000 tonnes of dimethyl ether, which can be used as a transportation fuel, according to the release.

Phase two of the project would produce mono ethylene glycol (MEG), engine coolants, polyester fibre and PET resin, among other byproducts at the complex.

Besides finding the money to build it, a major problem for any new petrochemical plant is finding the natural gas to run it.

The country’s annual audit by energy consultant Ryder Scott for 2011 showed that Trinidad's proven natural gas reserves remained flat.

Ramnarine sought to answer those concerns at the signing ceremony on Monday by saying an established supplier in Trinidad has said it could have gas available for the project by 2016.

Ramnarine said the audit for 2012 would be positively affected by BP’s discovery last year of 1,000bn cubic feet of natural gas offshore.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Lane Kelley
+1 713 525 2653

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