SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Deepak Fertilizers and Petrochemicals’ 100,000 tonne/year methanol unit at Taloja in India’s Maharashtra state has been running at 70% since it was restarted on 13 November amid availability of natural gas at competitive prices, a company source said on Monday.
“The price of natural gas now is $18/mmBTU [million metric British thermal unit] and domestic methanol prices have risen to a level where it is now profitable to operate,” the source said.
“We will continue to run as long as it remains economical,” the source added without giving more details.
The company had shut its plant in July because prices of feedstock gas and methanol were such that operations were not profitable.
Methanol producers in India said that power generation and fertilizer production take priority in usage of natural gas, which is in short supply in India.
Low methanol prices below Indian Rupee (Rs) 30/kg ($0.48/kg) ex-tank had led to many methanol producers idling their plants.
Other methanol producers in India include Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers Co (GNFC) and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers.
Methanol is used in the production of formaldehyde, tert-amyl methyl ether (TAME), methyl derivatives such as methyl chlorides and methyl amines, acetic acid, and as solvents in pharmaceutical and paint industries.
India is estimated to import around 1.4m tonnes of methanol in 2012. The country’s methanol demand grows at an annual rate of 5-6%, according to market participants.
($1 = Rs61.94)