Azerbaijani methanol producer to double domestic market supplies (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on 15:05)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 29

By Maksim Tsurkov – Trend:

SOCAR Methanol LLC plans to double the supply of methanol to the domestic market within the next two to three years, said the company’s Director General Elnur Mustafayev.

He made the remarks at the fourth international conference in Baku titled “Oil refining and petrochemistry of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia” Nov. 29.

Mustafayev noted that currently, five percent of the plant’s products are supplied to the domestic market.

“Ninety-five percent of the products are exported to the world market. This year we produced 265,000 tons of methanol that is six percent more than the annual plan. This allowed us to raise $35 million, which helped the company to rank fifth in non-oil exports in Azerbaijan,” Mustafayev said.

He noted that the strategic goal of the enterprise is to double the volume of supplies to the domestic market and completely meet the demand for methanol, methyl alcohol in Azerbaijan.

“The domestic market is one of the key areas of our development for the next two to three years. At the same time, export deliveries will continue to play a key role in the work of our plant. The Kulevi terminal is actively used in the transshipment of our products for export,” said the director general.

The terminal is capable to transship 60,000 tons of methanol per month, he added.

“However, we, along with other things, are focused on such issues as labor protection, labor safety, quality management, diversification of activities and human resources in our development strategy. These five areas of activities’ management form our strategy,” said Mustafayev.

One of the strategic tasks is the transition to the operational period of 350 operating days per year, in other words, to conduct overhaul not once a year, but once in two years and prolong the period, he added.

“It is also important to increase the capacity utilization up to 90 percent, to ensure EBITDA margin of at least 20 percent,” he said. “We believe that there is potential thanks to reconstruction and modernization in order to achieve a coefficient of 1.09, in other words, a 1,000 cubic meters to obtain not 900 tons, but 920 tons of methanol, increasing the output of methanol from a fixed volume of gas.”

Production at Azerbaijan’s methanol plant, the only plant of this kind in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, started in January 2014.

The plant’s annual capacity is 650,000-700,000 tons. SOCAR acquired the plant from the Aqrarkredit non-bank credit organization. The plant’s cost was estimated at $520 million.

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