17 April 2013 22:33 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--US methanol spot barge prices have soared 9 cents/gal this week on natural gas curtailments in Trinidad that began on 12 April because of unexpected problems at offshore platforms there, a source said on Wednesday.
US methanol spot barge prices rose to 147 cents/gal on Wednesday, according to one buyer, a nearly 7% jump from an average spot price of 138 cents/gal at the end of last week.
It was the highest point for the methanol spot price in almost five years, since reaching 155 cents/gal in mid-2008.
A methanol industry source said the spot jump would undoubtedly push May contract prices higher than the April range of 153-155 cents/gal.
“It’s not a matter of if, just how big” of an increase over April, the source said.
Natural gas curtailments have been an ongoing issue for methanol and other petrochemical producers for the past two years and had been expected to begin again on 8 April, then were postponed until 19 April.
But another industry source said that Trinidad’s state-owned utility, the National Gas Co (NGC), began natural gas restrictions of around 27% on Friday, 12 April, because of unexpected issues at British Gas’s Dolphin platform and BP’s Serrette Platform.
The source added that production rates should improve by Thursday at Trinidad’s Point Lisas Industrial Estate, where the island’s petrochemical plants are located. The production rate had increased to 84% earlier today, the source said.
Officials at the NGC did not return calls immediately seeking comment.
($1 = €0.76)
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