Global methanol prices have almost doubled over the past year, with June 2017 prices at US$455 per tonne. At first sight, this might look like good news for Trinidad and Tobago, but this increase in prices has been driven in part by declines in Trinidad production. Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd. has been forced to mothball some of their Trinidad production due to continued shortfalls in natural gas supply and their inability to negotiate new gas purchase contracts from The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited.
After some recovery in the last quarter of 2016 and first quarter of 2017, ammonia prices have again retreated. In June 2017 the international benchmark price of ammonia fell by 20%, falling below free on board (FOB) prices of US$240 per tonne from US$300 back in April. This according to a recent ICIS podcast featuring Richard Ewing, the ICIS Ammonia Editor, in which Ewing reported that Russian and other European producers slashed exports or production to deal with the price fall.
Data from the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries in Trinidad and Tobago shows that production of both methanol and ammonia showed steep declines in May 2017. Natural gas production in Trinidad and Tobago during the first four months of 2017 reached 13,127 MMcf/d, down 987 MMcf/d — or 7% — over the same period from 2016. Methanol production, meanwhile, reached 1,527,628 metric tonnes over the first four months of 2017, dipping by 182,082 metric tonnes — or 10.8% — compared with the same period a year ago.