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Methanol comes to Phoenix

Summary

The world methanol industry gathered in Phoenix last November somewhat sobered by the aftermath of the September 11th attacks on the US.

Abstract

The 2000 World Methanol Conference returned to the USA in November 2001, when some 170 delegates met at the Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix from the 5th to 7th, to discuss the current shape of the world methanol industry. The conference began with some introductory remarks by Dave McCaskill; CMAI’s Vice President of Methanol Studies. He noted that this was also to be the last methanol conference for CMAI’s European head and ex-Crocco Associates Cees van den Brink, who is leaving the company in 2002. He will be replaced in Europe by John Benarius.

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Alternative uses for gas

Summary

Hitherto the choice for owners of stranded natural gas was fairly simple: flare it, liquefy it as LNG, or convert it into ammonia or methanol. But with flaring gradually being outlawed and the relative costs of other techniques gradually coming down, the choices are now greater. Nitrogen & Methanol looks at the competing uses for gas feedstock.

Abstract

In defining downstream uses for natural gas, it must be remembered that the most obvious and generally most lucrative is its sale to electrical power generators with gas-fired turbines. Electricity producers can afford to pay much higher rates for natural gas than chemical producers.

Therefore, if a ready market exists within pipeline distance, this will almost always be the prime use for natural gas. This article, therefore, is talking primarily about remote or stranded gas.

Figure 1 illustrates the basic options open to developers of remote gas fields. LNG has been the preferred option for large volumes, with methanol a growing second place and ammonia and downstream units where there is a demand for fertilizer or the opportunity to export it. However, costs of Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) gas to liquids (GTL) conversion has been falling for some time and have now reached the level where they are beginning to become competitive with other routes.

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