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Methanol
Methanol Prices | Current and Forecast
Methanol
Methanol
Methanol
CH3OH

About Methanol. Methanol (a.k.a. Methyl Alcohol, Wood Alcohol) is an organic chemical and the simplest aliphatic alcohol as well as one of the most important chemical raw materials. It is colorless liquid at ambient temperatures with a mild, characteristic alcohol odor. Methanol was originally called wood alcohol because it was first obtained from the destructive distillation of wood. The modern method of preparing methanol is based on the direct combination of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen (syngas) in the presence of a catalyst. Methyl Alcohol is quantitatively the second largest product from syngas, after ammonia. Methanol production is often the most suitable alternative for marketing of liquefied methane and ammonia.

The syngas used to produce methanol can be produced from virtually any carbon source. While methane and coal are common raw materials, the use of renewable feedstocks such as residue biomass from crops and forests processing is increasing. Besides the technology of its production being simple, the transportation and storage of methanol use inexpensive technology.

Methanol Handling. Since methanol is both a fire hazard and corrosive toward a variety of metals (copper, zinc, magnesium, tin, lead, aluminum) and some elastomers, equipment for storing may be made of carbon or stainless steel. Floating and fixed roof tanks are used for large-scale methanol storage. Methanol is shipped overseas in specially built tankers with capacities up to 40,000 t. Other vessels with capacities up to 3,000 t can be used to distribute the product to inland industrial regions via inland waterways, by tank cars, trucks and drums. Methanol is also transported by road and rail tank cars. Permanently coupled trains consisting of several large tank cars with common filling, discharge, and ventilation lines are used to supply large customers.

Methanol Production. Currently, Methanol is produced on an industrial scale primarily by catalytic conversion of synthesis gas (or syngas). The syngas is, in turn, most commonly produced from the natural gas reformation or by gasification of coal. The gasification process can also be used for the production of Green Methanol from biomass. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of Methanol are listed below.

  • Natural gas (reforming),
  • Coal/wood (gasification),
  • Naphtha/vacuum residue/heavy fuel oil (partial oxidation)

Methanol Uses.The uses and applications of Methanol may vary according to its specification. The main forms of Methanol are grade A (minimum 99.85 wt% methanol, maximum 0.15 wt% water) and grade AA (minimum 99.85 wt% methanol, maximum 0.10 wt% water, maximum 0.001 wt% ethanol, maximum 0.002 wt% acetone).

Despite Methanol’s minor use as fuel, MTBE is used in the energy sector as a gasoline additive to raise the octane number. In recent years, technologies were developed for the production of chemicals and fuels from syngas, with methanol being an intermediate. Such technologies include methanol to gasoline (MTG), methanol-to-olefins (MTO) and methanol-to-propylene (MTP) processes.

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Prices

Methanol Prices | Current and Forecast

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Monitor monthly Methanol price assessments covering 7 locations: United States, Europe, South America, Southeast Asia, China, Northeast Asia and Middle East. Also check Methanol price history since 2007 and forecasts.

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Data Legend. The chart above shows Methanol price assessments in USA Dollar per metric ton (USD/mt) in 7 locations, as follows:

  • Methanol, spot, US (United States): Methanol, export spot price, fob, United States
  • Methanol, cont, US (United States): Methanol, export contract price, fob, United States
  • Methanol, EUR (Europe): Methanol, export contract price, fob, Netherlands
  • Methanol, SAM (South America): Methanol, import transaction price, cif, Brazil
  • Methanol, SEA (Southeast Asia): Methanol, import transaction price, cif, India
  • Methanol, spot, CN (China): Methanol, import spot price, cfr, Central China
  • Methanol, cont, CN (China): Methanol, import contract price, cfr, China
  • Methanol, NEA (Northeast Asia): Methanol, import contract price, cfr, Northeast Asia
  • Methanol, MDE (Middle East): Methanol, export transaction price, fob, Saudi Arabia

Data Use. Methanol prices are provided as an annual subscription where subscribers have access to reliable pricing data of 224 commodities worldwide. To better understand data provided by Intratec Primary Commodity Prices, check the following documents: Price Assessment Basis , Commodities Specifications , Methodology , User Guide , and Glossary .

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Methanol Price Outlook. The price of Methanol (spot, United States) increased during April 2019 to 336 USD per metric ton, which represents a slight rise of 2% compared to the previous month’s value. On a year-over-year basis, the prices of Methanol (spot, United States) decreased significantly by 18%. Meanwhile, the average price of Methanol (contract, United States) amounted to 432 USD per metric ton, from 496 USD per metric ton one year earlier. On a month-over-month basis, the price of Methanol (contract, United States) was flat.

The price of Methanol (spot, China) declined considerably throughout April 2019, reaching 324 USD per metric ton.  The price is 8% lower than the average price in the previous month and 30% lower than the average price one year before. In contrast, the prices of Methanol (contract, China) increased during April 2019, reaching 311 USD per metric ton, which means a rise of 5% from the previous month’s price and a decline of 17% from the previous year’s price. 

The prices of Methanol (transaction, Southeast Asia) experienced a modest decline of 7 USD per metric ton from the prior month's price, to 300 USD per metric ton. Such price movement meant a decrease of 2% on a monthly basis and a decrease of 22% on a yearly basis. On the other hand, in April 2019, the price of Methanol (transaction, Middle East) witnessed a rise of 6 USD per metric ton when compared against the previous month's price, to 316 USD per metric ton. The April 2019 price is 19% lower than the price one year before. 

The average price of Methanol (contract, Europe) was 396 USD per metric ton on April 2019 – a little decrease of 2 USD per metric ton, or 0.5%, compared with the previous month. On a year-over-year basis, the price of Methanol (contract, Europe) is 15% lower than the price one year before.

About Methanol. Methanol (a.k.a. Methyl Alcohol, Wood Alcohol) is an organic chemical and the simplest aliphatic alcohol as well as one of the most important chemical raw materials. It is colorless liquid at ambient temperatures with a mild, characteristic alcohol odor. Methanol was originally called wood alcohol because it was first obtained from the destructive distillation of wood. The modern method of preparing methanol is based on the direct combination of carbon monoxide gas and hydrogen (syngas) in the presence of a catalyst. Methyl Alcohol is quantitatively the second largest product from syngas, after ammonia. Methanol production is often the most suitable alternative for marketing of liquefied methane and ammonia.

The syngas used to produce methanol can be produced from virtually any carbon source. While methane and coal are common raw materials, the use of renewable feedstocks such as residue biomass from crops and forests processing is increasing. Besides the technology of its production being simple, the transportation and storage of methanol use inexpensive technology.

Methanol Handling. Since methanol is both a fire hazard and corrosive toward a variety of metals (copper, zinc, magnesium, tin, lead, aluminum) and some elastomers, equipment for storing may be made of carbon or stainless steel. Floating and fixed roof tanks are used for large-scale methanol storage. Methanol is shipped overseas in specially built tankers with capacities up to 40,000 t. Other vessels with capacities up to 3,000 t can be used to distribute the product to inland industrial regions via inland waterways, by tank cars, trucks and drums. Methanol is also transported by road and rail tank cars. Permanently coupled trains consisting of several large tank cars with common filling, discharge, and ventilation lines are used to supply large customers.

Methanol Production. Currently, Methanol is produced on an industrial scale primarily by catalytic conversion of synthesis gas (or syngas). The syngas is, in turn, most commonly produced from the natural gas reformation or by gasification of coal. The gasification process can also be used for the production of Green Methanol from biomass. Raw materials and the respective production processes employed in the manufacturing of Methanol are listed below.

  • Natural gas (reforming),
  • Coal/wood (gasification),
  • Naphtha/vacuum residue/heavy fuel oil (partial oxidation)

Methanol Uses.The uses and applications of Methanol may vary according to its specification. The main forms of Methanol are grade A (minimum 99.85 wt% methanol, maximum 0.15 wt% water) and grade AA (minimum 99.85 wt% methanol, maximum 0.10 wt% water, maximum 0.001 wt% ethanol, maximum 0.002 wt% acetone).

Despite Methanol’s minor use as fuel, MTBE is used in the energy sector as a gasoline additive to raise the octane number. In recent years, technologies were developed for the production of chemicals and fuels from syngas, with methanol being an intermediate. Such technologies include methanol to gasoline (MTG), methanol-to-olefins (MTO) and methanol-to-propylene (MTP) processes.

Intratec Methodology. Intratec Primary Commodity Prices are produced from a data-driven, mathematical approach, which starts with the extraction of data from various primary sources, including official trade records, futures market, statistics bureaus, governmental and international agencies. Such large volume of data is validated through advanced data processing techniques, and treated by means of statistical analysis for outliers removal. When faced with input gaps, data scientists and engineers employ mathematical models or machine learning techniques to estimate prices and ensure the completeness of the price assessments presented. (learn more ).

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