NATURAL GAS TO PETROCHEMICALS COMPLEX
The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago (GORTT) and Caribbean Gas Chemical Limited (CGCL), together with shareholder companies, The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (NGC), Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Company Inc. (MGC), Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Massy Holdings Limited (MHL), signed a Project Agreement for the development of a Methanol to Petrochemicals Complex (the “Project”) on Friday, April 10, 2015 at the National Energy Skills Centre auditorium in La Brea, close to the Project site, Union Industrial Estate, at La Brea in Trinidad and Tobago.
The signing of this Project Agreement will be a catalyst for future growth and development in Trinidad and Tobago, specifically in the southwestern peninsula. It is also an important milestone in the development of the Project, as it outlines the roles and responsibilities of the signatories for the duration of the Project.
In addition to this Agreement, other key documents signed were:
- Gas Sale Contract between NGC and CGCL.
- Engineering Procurement and Construction Contract between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) and CGCL.
The facilities will comprise a methanol plant with a capacity of 1 million tonnes/year and a dimethyl ether (DME) plant with a capacity of 20KT/year at Union Industrial Estate. The Environmental Management Authority issued a Certificate of Environmental Clearance in December 2014, which will allow construction to start upon the conclusion of a loan agreement with a syndicate of Japanese banks led by the state owned Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC). Activities are scheduled to get underway near the end of 2015 and are expected to stimulate economic activity in La Brea and its environs, with peak employment during construction phase of about two thousand persons.
According to CGCL, mechanical completion of the plant is slated for some time during the 2nd Quarter of 2018, with commercial operations to start during the 4th Quarter of 2018. CGCL expects the Project to have a positive impact on its fenceline communities and will be executed on the basis of a robust community engagement programme.
Methanol is a basic chemical used in the production of a range of downstream products, and as a raw material in the making of traditional petrochemicals, including formaldehyde and acetic acid. It is widely used in energy applications, such as gasoline blending and DME, as well as in the production of olefins (methanol-to-olefin).
Dimethyl Ether (DME) is a form of liquefied gas that can be made from natural gas or from other raw materials such as coal or biomass. Similar to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), DME does not emit particulate matter (PM) or sulfur oxides (SOx) during combustion due to the absence of sulfur. In addition, its properties do not include nitrogen oxide (NOx) or carbon dioxide (CO2), making DME an attractive source for next generation clean energy.