Methanol Industrial forecast:
The global methanol market is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5% in the forecast period; however, the overall growth rate is somewhat distorted by the rapidly emerging methanol-to olefins segment. Global methanol consumption will grow at an average annual growth rate of only 4.7%, when excluding the MTO/MTP segment. It is critical to understand the demographics of global methanol demand. The fuels sector is forecast to grow on average 4.1% annually, while traditional derivatives grow at around 1.5 times GDP levels or 5%. The emerging MTO/MTP sector is projected to grow from just over 2million metric tons in 2013 to over 12 million metric tons in 2024, experiencing an 18% annual growth rate. China remains the growth center with annual average growth of 7.6%, while the rest of the world grows at around 2.5%. China’s methanol consumption will more than double from 33 million metric tons in 2014 to 69 million metric tons in 2024. With China at the epicenter of global growth, fuels applications are also one of the primary demand drivers. Methanol demand into the gasoline pool is expected to increase from 7 million metric tons in 2014 to 13.5 million metric tons in 2024, representing a penetration of around 13%. Methanol currently accounts for approximately 8% of China’s transportation fuel pool. At blend ratios of 15% and slightly increased gasoline consumption trends, methanol consumption could rise to 17 to 25 million metric tons. The other major non-traditional fuels application for Chinese methanol supply is DME. The primary application for the Chinese DME market is LPG blending. The volume of China’s LPG market is estimated at over 26 million metric tons in 2013, which is expected to rise slowly through 2020. An emerging application for DME is as a fuel substitute in the Chinese diesel transportation market. The Chinese diesel transportation market is around 90 million metric tons in 2011 and is expected to grow to over 125 million metric tons by 2017.In the base case, HIS Chemical projects methanol demand in DME to grow from 6.5 million metric tons in 2014 to 8.3 million metric tons in 2024. However, alternate demand scenarios easily project methanol consumption in DME of over 15 million metric tons. When combining the different Chinese fuels demand scenarios, base demand growth for DME and direct gasoline blending rises from 13.5 million metric tons in 2014 to 21.8 million metric tons in 2024. The recent fall in the global crude oil price makes methanol less economically attractive as a gasoline blend stock and reduces the affordability of methanol into DME. This threatens to reduce demand for methanol into these applications, especially in the 2015–2016 time frame when crude oil prices are forecast to be at their lowest level. Turning to methanol supply, the base case for methanol capacity growth in the forecast indicates little capacity growth in Central and East Europe with limited rationalization in China or elsewhere. Global capacity growth is forecast to decline from the annual average of just over 9% in the 2009 to 2014 timeframe to an average annual growth rate of 4.2% for the 2014 to 2024 timeframe. There are also highly probable scenarios of supply delays in the Middle East due to project financing obstacles as well as limitations on feedstock availability. The global operating rate for 2013 and 2014 is estimated at61–62% on a nameplate capacity basis and 69–70% on an effective basis. In 2015, the nameplate operating rate is forecast to increase to 63%, 70% on an effective basis, before rising to almost 70% on a nameplate basis during the 2016–2018 period. The supply section below delves into detail regarding the logical development and the assessment of effective operating rates. Generally, effective operating rates are on average 6 percentage points above the nameplate operating rates. Based upon historical industry performance, the operating rate that reflects an overall balanced methanol market is believed to be near 77% on a nameplate capacity basis and 83% on an effective capacity basis. Finally, the long-term methanol price forecast is influenced by a number of factors, including the supply-demand balance, global energy, and trade/tariff structures. The supply-demand balance affects the intersection of demand on the industry supply cost curve. Trade duties and tariff structures influence country and regional operating balances and resulting prices. Secondly, world energy prices and their effect on feedstock costs for China’s marginal production shift the cost curve vertically. For example, a US$20 per barrel increase in the crude oil price represents a US$3.44 per MMBTU energy cost increase, which, if fully transferred, results in an increase of overUS$100 per metric ton in methanol cost and likely also price. Gasoline prices and their energy equivalents as compared to methanol’s energy equivalent price actually represent a ceiling for methanol prices. As global energy prices increase, gasoline prices move even higher, but the reverse is also true, with recently revised crude oil prices for 2015 and 2016 rendering methanol less attractive as an MTO feedstock and as a gasoline blend stock.