This year has started the same way 2020 begun with the severing of workers in the downstream petrochemical sector as the State-owned National Gas Company fails to reach a gas supply agreement with a petro-chemical company.
This time it is Methanex Corporation which yesterday announced that it expects its Titan methanol facility will remain idled indefinitely leading to the loss of 60 jobs.
In a media release the Vancouver based company said; “As a result, the company has made the decision to restructure its Trinidad operations to support a one-plant operation and reduce its Trinidad workforce by approximately 60 positions filled by employees and long-term contractors.”
Methanex had last year shut down the Titan plant shortly. It has spent almost $300 million on an upgrade. It however could not reach agreement on a gas contract.
The press release read: “To date, we have not been successful reaching an agreement for an economic longer-term natural gas agreement and given that the economic recovery path remains uncertain we believe it is prudent to reduce costs while continuing our efforts to secure longer-term gas supply. The Atlas methanol facility (Methanex interest 63.1%) is not affected by the change and continues to operate as it is underpinned by a separate natural gas supply agreement that expires in 2024.”
Energy Minister Franklin Khan told Guardian Media that the decision has more to do with the collapse of methanol prices and less with the price of natural gas locally.
Methanex Corporation’s president and CEO John Floren commented, “We remain committed to doing business in Trinidad and Tobago and we believe that we will be able to secure an economic longer-term natural gas agreement for Titan in the coming years. Our operations in Trinidad are well located to supply global methanol markets and are an important component of our global production network. We are taking the necessary steps to maintain Titan to ensure a safe and efficient restart of the plant when a longer-term gas agreement is reached.”
Methanex is a Vancouver-based, publicly traded company and is the world’s largest producer and supplier of methanol to major international markets.