Iran’s NPC planning for new methanol capacity in 2004
Iran’s NPC planning for new methanol capacity in 2004, according to a press release issued by Canada’s Methanex Corporation, a Vancouver based, publicly traded company engaged in the worldwide production and marketing of methanol.
Methanex recorded net income of $75.5 million and generated EBITDA of $125.1 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2003. The first quarter 2003 results compare to a net loss of $30.4 million and EBITDA of $99 million for the fourth quarter 2002, and to a net loss of $17.4 million and EBITDA of $10.6 million for the same period in 2002.
“Methanol industry supply/demand fundamentals continue to create a very favorable pricing environment for us and we are pleased with our first quarter results. Reduced production from our New Zealand facilities, as a result of the recent Maui natural gas contract re-determination, put further upward pressure on prices and allowed us to minimize the effect of this lost production on our cash generation capability,” commented Methanex President and CEO Pierre Choquette.
“Our average realized price for the first quarter 2003 was $223 per ton compared with $188 per ton for the previous quarter and $111 per ton for the first quarter 2002. Looking ahead, pricing strength appears to be continuing."
Choquette concluded, "The current tight methanol market needs additional supply. As new low cost capacity comes on stream, which could be partially offset by further shut downs of higher-cost production, we are optimistic that we can continue to generate significant cash during what could be an extended period of well-balanced market conditions."
Methanol supply disruptions during 2002 resulted in extremely tight market conditions and increased prices leading into 2003. Two Venezuelan methanol plants, representing approximately 1.5 million tonnes, or five percent, of annual global demand temporarily shut down in mid-December 2002 and re-commenced production in March.
With no new supply expected to impact the market in 2003 and reduced production from Methanex New Zealand facilities, the company expects favorable market conditions and strong pricing to continue throughout the year, according to a company press release.
These tight market conditions are also minimizing the impact of the phase-out of MTBE by California gasoline producers. As a result of tight industry supply/demand fundamentals, methanol prices continued to strengthen in the first quarter of 2003 and into the second quarter.
Methanex expects that the 1.7 million ton Atlas methanol facility, a joint venture with BP in which Methanex holds a 63.1 percent interest, will be the first increment of new capacity in early 2004. Atlas will provide us with production capacity to replace lost production from Methanex’s New Zealand facilities. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)