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Methanol market developments

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The report ‘Methanol Market by Feedstock, Derivative, Sub-derivative, End-Use Industry, and by Region - Global Trends & Forecasts to 2021’, has been published by MarketsandMarkets. According to the report, the global market is projected to reach US$54.16 billion by 2021, registering a CAGR of 12.4% between 2016 and 2021.

This growth is fuelled by the use of methanol as fuel in the automotive industry, increasing olefins production from methanol-to-olefin (MTO)/methanol-to-propylene (MTP) plants in China, and increasing petrochemicals demand, globally.

Coal: the largest feedstock of methanol

The global production of methanol is 40 million tpy, most of which is produced from natural gas and oil. However, high prices and limited reserves of natural gases in certain geographical areas such as China and Africa have stimulated interest in unconventional feedstock for the production of methanol. Thus, coal comes across as a sustainable alternative raw material for large scale methanol production owing to its abundance, low cost and efficient coal gasification technology.

MTO/MTP: the fastest-growing derivative of methanol

MTO/MTP is the fastest-growing derivative segment in the methanol market. Methanol-to-olefins and methanol-to-propylene (MTO/MTP) applications are gaining momentum, and are expected to become the largest derivative of methanol, in terms of both value and volume, by 2021. Ethylene and propylene are the major feedstocks of polyethylene and polypropylene plastics, respectively, which are in huge demand.

Asia Pacific: the largest and fastest growing market for methanol

Asia Pacific is the most favourable market for chemicals, power and fuels, and this is anticipated to be the same in the coming years. The continuous rise in the production of methanol, as an alternative fuel for the automotive sector in the region, is the main driving force of the methanol market. The growing demand and policies, including emission control, environment friendly products, and so on, have led to innovation and developments in the industry, making it a strong methanol production hub, globally. The excessive growth in the production of olefins, and the rise in MTO/MTP plants in China over the last few years, have driven methanol production in the Asia Pacific region.

The methanol market has a few global players competing significantly for the market share, that are actively investing in various strategies such as expansions and joint ventures, and agreements globally, to increase their market. Also, companies are investing in R&D activities. Key players, such as Methanex Corporation (Canada), SABIC (Saudi Arabia), PETRONAS (Malaysia), Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company (Japan) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd (Japan), have adopted various organic and inorganic developmental strategies.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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