The global is characterized by the strong presence of a handful of regional companies with an established customer base in various countries. These include Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Reliance Industries Limited, AR-RAZI Saudi Methanol Company, RAMA Petrochemicals Ltd., Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd., and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers & Chemicals Limited.
Transparency Market Research notes that the market dynamics are increasingly dependent on long-term contracts, the goodwill of companies, and a strong and unique product portfolio. Focusing on developing new projects and alliances is also a key growth strategy adopted by leading players in the methanol market. For instance, the acquisition of Ningdong Power, Xuzhou Power, and Zhoushan Power by Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd. in 2015 was a business merger that strengthened the company’s presence in the local as well as global market.
Formaldehyde Leads by Application despite Diminishing Market Share
By application, formaldehyde accounted for the dominant share of 29.6% in the global methanol market in 2015, followed by acetic acid. However, the market share of this segment is expected to decrease during the forecast period. On the other hand, DME and gasoline have been identified as immensely lucrative application segments and both are likely to register a 4.8% CAGR from 2016 to 2024.
From a geographical standpoint, Asia Pacific dominates the global methanol market and accounted for a share of just under 70.0% in 2015. The region is also expected to be an attractive investment opportunity for players in the methanol market and is likely to expand at a CAGR of 3.9% between 2016 and 2024 in terms of volume.
Recovery of U.S.’s Methanol Industry Sparks Hope
The global market for methanol has been witness to several dramatic changes in the recent past, most of which have had a positive impact on its growth. One of the most influential developments in this market has been China’s emergence as a dominant contributor to its revenue and demand.
“China’s explosive economic growth and the rapid development of its methanol market has resulted in a significant increase in the global methanol demand and capacity,” the author states. China presently accounts for nearly half the global production of methanol and its capacity is only set to increase in the coming years. The country’s contribution in the production of coal-based methanol as an alternative to the natural gas-based variant is also noteworthy and is anticipated to drive the global market.
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Another factor that is sure to benefit the global methanol market is the recovery of the U.S. methanol industry. “The production of methanol had been strong in the U.S. until the mid-2000s; the market, however, took a severe hit owing to high gas prices. Methanol plants across the U.S. and Canada shut down in a couple of years and the overall market reached a point of being unprofitable,” the lead analyst explains.
However, the ready availability of shale-derived feedstock has since boosted U.S.’s ability to produce methanol once again. So much so, that analysts expect the country to become a key exporter of methanol in the coming years. New production plants have sprouted across the region and are hinting at the re-emergence of a driven market.