Japanese consortium to develop methanol to DME plant in Trinidad

Apr 09, 2013 12:00 AM

Trinidad and Tobago's energy ministry has signed a project development agreement with Japan's Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company and Mitsubishi Corporation, and local group Neal & Massy, for a US$850mn methanol to dimethyl ether (DME) plant at the Union Industrial Estate at La Brea.
In a first phase the partners plan to produce 1Mt/y methanol and 100,000t/y DME.

Global methanol demand, currently 60Mt/y, is expected to increase by 4-5%/y in the coming years, according to Mitsubishi Gas Chemical officials Ryuji Ideno and Masahiro Deguchi.
Methanol is used as a raw material to make products such as adhesives and agrochemicals, and DME as a clean energy substitute for diesel fuel in cars and power generation.

During a second phase the Mitsubishi consortium will consider the production of mono ethylene glycol (MEG) from syngas and/or ethane extraction. MEG can be used to produce automotive coolants, polyester fiber and PET resin.
Other projects under consideration include the production of acetic acid and acrylonitrile, which have applications in plastics manufacturing, according to a speech by energy minister Kevin Ramnarine at the signing of the agreement.

"This project presents several distinct but unique opportunities for Trinidad and Tobago with respect to the further diversification of the energy sector, growth of the economy, development of the South Western peninsula, regional energy security and local content," Ramnarine said.
"This is not the end of the work. A lot more remains to be done and we will be here to assist along the way. If all goes to plan, we can expect that construction will commence by the second quarter of 2014."

Commercial operations are expected to begin in 2016.
The project stakeholders are the Mitsubishi Corporation (33%), Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company (33%), Neal & Massy (10%), ICCL of Houston (4%) and the government of Trinidad and Tobago (20%) through state agencies the National Gas Company and the National Energy Corporation.

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