Platts report that the European spot price on methanol is expected to stay around 300 €/mt for the next three year. The price is due to additional global supply and the low oil price according to a source at  the annual meeting of the European Petrochemical Association in Berlin Monday.

"It will stay at around Eur300/mt for the next three years as long as US product is cheap and tracks the levels of oil production from Saudi Arabia [the high oil production levels that were contributing to current low oil prices] there's no reason to see a higher price," a producer source said to Platts. 

Read the article on [Direct link]

Small scale methanol production has been discussed from time to time and a number of companies are working on movable production facilities that could be used. 

Small scale methanol production has been mentioned from time to time. The idea is to produce methanol locally, from available feedstock. This can for example be from shale gas wells that are too small to motivate pipeline connections or are too far away from any pipeline network. 

A number of companies are working on mobile or semi mobile production plants that could be used. Ben Franklin’s SGICC recently released a study performed by ADI Analytics regarding the techno-economic feasibility of small scale methanol production from primarily shale gas in North America. It is an interesting read. 

Shale Gas Innovation ¤ Commercialization Center (SGICC) 
Link to the study 

The islandic company Carbon Recycling International (CRI) has celebrated the inauguration of an expansion to the methanol production facility in Svartsengi. CRI produce methanol from geothermal energy and carbon dioxide captured from the geothermal source. Thus making the methanol truly fossil free, unlike conventional production where natural gas or coal is used as source. With the expansion the plant now has a capacity of 4,000 tons of renewable methanol per year.

[CRI press release]

More news on methanol as marine fuel in LR’s Horizons magazine, issue 42, January 2015. The first article is about the upcoming conversion of Stena Germanica to methanol. The second is about a new MethaShip project where LR and partners assess the possibility to build new methanol powered cruise ships. 

Direct links to articles: [Stena Germanica Conversion], [MethaShip]

As year 2015 is closing in and it is time to finish the last tasks of 2014 it is also time to look back on what has happened and what we can expect for next year. 

During 2014 interest in methanol seemed to have increased. With no statistical backing I will claim that the exposure of methanol as an alternative fuel for the marine sector has multiplied. There have been articles in marine magazines and even some exposure in the tabloids. I’m quite sure this trend will continue as more reference objects appear and methanol becomes a more established alternative fuel. 

The Stena Germanica conversion continues as she will be docked in January next year making her the first methanol powered ship, hopefully of many more. The new SECA rules will of course come in to force in northern Europe and North America as well, making alternative low sulphur fuels more attractive. 

Expect more to come. For now, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!