Two Japanese companies, Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company and Mitsubishi Corporation are in the final stages of an agreement with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and local partner, Neal & Massy Holdings Limited, to start developing a project for the commercialization of natural gas based petrochemicals. Phase 1 of the project under consideration will produce 1 million tons of methanol and 100,000 tpa of dimethyl ether. The partners are aiming to reach a final investment decision during the course of the current fiscal year, with commercial operations scheduled to start in fiscal year 2016.
Methanol, made mainly from natural gas, is used as a raw material in the manufacture of a wide range of products, including adhesives, agrochemicals, paints and synthetic resins. Dimethyl ether, for its part, has been receiving a lot of attention as a substitute for LPG and as a next generation clean energy substitute for diesel fuel in automobiles and in power generation. MGC and MC will sell the methanol produced to the global market, while promoting dimethyl ether in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean as an alternative to diesel fuel in collaboration with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Neal & Massy.
The global demand for methanol is currently 60 mln tpa, and this demand is expected to see a 4-5% growth in the coming years. By using natural gas produced in Trinidad and Tobago as the main source of raw materials for producing methanol, a basic chemical, and dimethyl ether, a liquefied gas, the project will be making a contribution to economic growth in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region while at the same time helping to satisfy the growing global demand for methanol. The partners will continue to work closely with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and Neal & Massy towards the development of other downstream petrochemicals in Trinidad and Tobago.