By Leman Mammadova
Growing methanol production in Azerbaijan stimulates the country’s export potential. SOCAR Metanol plant has produced 226,000 tons of methanol so far, the company told Trend.
Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is regarded as an alternative fuel. Although various raw materials can be used to produce methanol, the modern economy prefers to get it from natural gas.
It is planned to produce 360,000 tons of product by late 2019, about 97 percent of which will be exported.
Azerbaijan annually produces 250-300,000 tons of methanol. However, the plant’s annual capacity is 650,000-700,000 tons. Therefore, bringing annual production to 500,000 tons in the near future is one of the strategic goals of the company.
Production at Azerbaijan’s methanol plant, located in Garadagh district of Baku, the only plant of this kind in the South Caucasus and Central Asia, started in 2014.
The plant was transferred under the control of SOCAR Methanol LLC since November 2016. Since August 2017, the plant became the property of SOCAR. The plant cost was estimated at $520 million.
It is the first production facility in the country in the field of gas chemistry. Natural gas is supplied by Azerigaz Production Association.
Currently, 95 percent of the plant’s products are exported to the countries of the Mediterranean region (Spain, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Egypt, Israel), Turkey, Georgia, Romania, Belgium, France, Kazakhstan, China, Brazil, etc. Particularly, Turkey, Italy, Romania and Slovenia are Azerbaijan’s biggest partners in the trade in methanol.
Presently, methanol is exported not only through the Kulevi Oil Terminal, the storage capacity of which is 20,000 cubic meters of methanol with the possibility of expansion, but also from the Baku Port through the Caspian Sea to Kazakhstan as well as to other international markets. SOCAR Methanol plans to increase supplies through the Caspian Sea via the Volga-Don Canal.
A great share of methanol is used in the domestic market to combat hydrate formation. The estimated volume of methanol used in this direction is 15-20,000 tons per year.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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