June 2001

Trends and Resources

HP Impact: HPImpact: Methanol

Natural gas prices have had a substantial impact on the U.S. methanol industry. Product rationalization and the U.S.'s growing dependence on imports are realities. High natural gas feedstock pricing h..

Weirauch, Wendy, Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Natural gas prices have had a substantial impact on the U.S. methanol industry. Product rationalization and the U.S.'s growing dependence on imports are realities. High natural gas feedstock pricing has been the primary driver behind the changes in the North American (NA) methanol market. Nine NA methanol plants have been shut down in the past two years, effectively closing 3 million tons of methanol production capacity. The rationalization is partially attributed to a growing low-cost offshore methanol capacity that has come online recently. Comparatively poor operating economics - due to high natural gas prices - and the uncertainty of MTBE (methanol's largest end-use) have adversely aff

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