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Caribbean Gas Chemical JV starts up USD1-billion methanol, DME plant in Trinidad and Tobago

January 20/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Mitsubishi has announced the startup of commercial operations at its new USD1-billion methanol and dimethyl ether (DME) joint venture (JV) facility at La Brea, Trinidad and Tobago, said Chemweek.

The plant has a nameplate production capacity for 1 million metric tons/year (MMt/y) of methanol and 20,000 metric tons/year of DME.

The plant began operating commercially on 18 December 2020, it says. The facility is operated by Caribbean Gas Chemical Ltd. (CGCL), a JV of Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC), Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering (MHIE), National Gas Co. (NGC) of Trinidad and Tobago, and Massy Holdings. Feedstock for the plant is sourced primarily from domestic natural gas fields.

The CGCL JV was established in March 2013, with shareholders MGC and Mitsubishi each owning 26.25%, NGC holding 20%, MHIE 17.5%, and Massy 10%. Mitsubishi Corp. currently handles around 2.5 MMt/y of methanol, an amount equivalent to approximately 10% of global offshore trading, it says. Global demand for methanol is approximately 81 MMt/y, with that total expected to increase steadily in step with GDP growth, it says.

The final investment decision for the plant was taken by Mitsubishi in September 2015 after the three Mitsubishi group companies signed an initial agreement with NGC and Massy in April that year. MGC  provided its process technology for the plant, while MHI built the facility under an engineering, procurement, and construction contract. Commercial production was scheduled originally for March 2019. MGC, Mitsubishi, and Massy will sell the output globally.

Earlier this month Methanex (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) announced it would continue to idle indefinitely its 875,000-metric tons/year Titan methanol facility at Couva, Trinidad, after halting production at the plant in March 2020 due to the COVID-19-related downturn in manufacturing activity worldwide. Methanexs other methanol facility in Trinidad, the 1.822-MMt/y Atlas plant, also at Couva, continues to operate with a natural-gas supply agreement due to expire in 2024.

As MRC reported earlier, in December 2020, MCC acquired a greenfield property at a large integrated site on the Mississippi River in Geismar, Louisiana, the US. It also plans to advance its feasibility study for the design and construction of a 350,000mt Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) plant, which will be based on its proprietary ALPHA technology. Currently, the project is in the early engineering stage and the final investment decision (FiD) is expected to take place in early 2022. If the project gets approval, the plant would commence production in 2025.

The main application, consuming approximately 75% MMA, is in the production of polymethyl methacrylate acrylic plastics (PMMA). Methyl methacrylate is also used to produce methyl methacrylate-butadiene-styrene copolymer (MBS), used as a modifier for polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PVC production reached 891,200 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020, down by 0.3% year on year. However, two producers managed to increase their PVC output.
Author:Anna Larionova
Tags:PVC, EPVC, SPVC, Mitsubishi Chemical.
Category:General News
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