Posted on November 16, 2014

The rapidly growing importance of methanol for the production of thousands of goods that people use on a daily basis will be among the main focus of discussion by some of the world’s foremost experts during the first-ever Middle East Methanol Forum (MEMF). The Forum will be held on 26 November 2014 at the Sharq Village in Doha, Qatar.

Being a key component of hundreds of chemicals, methanol is most often converted into formaldehyde, acetic acid and olefins, which are all basic chemical building blocks for a number of common products. Some of these products include: plastics, synthetic fibers, paints, resins, magnetic film, safety glass laminate, adhesives, solvents, carpeting, insulation, refrigerants, windshield washer fluid, particle board, pigments, and dyes, in addition to thousands of other products.

Organised by Qatar Fuel Additives Company Limited (QAFAC), the Forum will be held under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of the State of Qatar and in the presence of Mr Hamad Rashid Al-Mohannadi, Chairman, Qatar Fuel Additives Company Limited (QAFAC). The Forum’s main theme, “Miracle Energy on Hand,” reflects the other alternative applications of methanol such as transportation fuel, wastewater denitrification, fuel cell hydrogen carrier, biodiesel transesterification, and electricity generation. More recently, further research and development have begun for methanol’s use as a marine fuel.

With its aim of optimizing the utilization of the country's vast hydrocarbon resources, QAFAC currently produces 982,350 Tons per year of methanol, the majority of which is exported to markets throughout Asia Pacific and Europe. The remaining balance is then used as feedstock for the MTBE process or sold within the petrochemical industry for use as raw material in the manufacture of solvents, formaldehyde, methyl-halide, acetic acid, ethyl-alcohol, acetic anhydride, dimethyl ether (DME) and methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).

“As a key producer and exporter of methanol, we at QAFAC have an integral and vital role to play in the overall development of the methanol industry across the region and around the world,” said Mr. Nasser Jeham Al-Kuwari, Chief Executive Officer of QAFAC. “It is therefore part of QAFAC’s goals to find constantly better ways of efficiently and effectively producing and harnessing methanol’s capabilities for the benefit of everyone.

“Having clearly established itself as global commodity, more than 80,000 metric tons of methanol is shipped from one continent to another each day,” he added. “The Methanol Institute has indicated that due to its wide range of applications, global methanol demand reached 65 million metric tons in 2013. Driven largely by the resurgence of the global housing market and increased demand for cleaner energy, it is predicted that the demand for methanol will continue to grow up to 120 million tons by 2020.”

The Forum’s main sponsor is Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company (Muntajat), a company that markets and distributes Qatar’s 10 million tonnes of chemicals, polymers and fertilisers to more than 120 countries around the world, including the Methanol and MTBE being produced by QAFAC. With strong support from the Methanol Institute (MI), the global trade association or the methanol industry, the MEMF will include an overview of the methanol industry and markets in Qatar and globally.

Among the topics to be discussed at the Forum include: “Effective Monetization of Natural Gas Assets.” “Making the Case for Oxygenates in the GCC” (panel discussion),” Market Perspectives: The China Question,” ”Global Ambitions: The Vision to Expand Qatar’s Chemical and Petrochemical Industry Worldwide,” “Methanol Fuel Cells: Powering the World’s Future Energy Needs.” “Steering a Shipping Revolution: Methanol as a Marine Fuel.” There will also be several question-and-answer (Q&A) segments for participants to actively engage and interact with resource speakers.

The speakers at the Forum include: Ms. Tammy Klein, Senior Vice President, Downstream Research, Hart Energy, United States; Mr. Awadh Hassan Al-Shanfari, Chief Executive Officer, Salalah Methanol Company LLC, Oman; Mr. Ben Iosefa, Vice Chairman, Methanol Institute Board of Directors and Vice President, Global Market Development & Stakeholder Relations, Methanex Corporation, Canada; Mr. Khai Zhao, Deputy Director, Academic Board Office of the Center for Global New Energy Strategy Studies (CGNESS) and China Association of Alcohol & Ether Clean Fuel and Automobiles (CAAEFA), China; Mr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Abdulla, Chief Executive Officer, Muntajat, Qatar; Mr. Jim Boettcher, Chairman Oorja Fuel Cells, United States; Mr Dennis Patrick, Chairman, Methanol Institute and Chief Executive Officer, Methanol Trinidad Holdings Limited (MHTL), Trinidad & Tobago; Mr. Khalid Al Hitmi, Chief Operating Officer, QAFAC, Qatar; Mr. Greg Dolan, Chief Executive Officer, Methanol Institute, United States; Mr. Mike Nash, Global Director, Syngas Chemicals, IHS, United Kingdom; and Toni Stojcevski, Project Manager MeOH Adaptation, Wartsila, Sweden.