World Methanol Day 1

25-26 September 2023 . Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront . Vienna, Austria

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Session Details

World Methanol Day 1

Monday, 25 September
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Session 1: Strategic & Business Issues

Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Carlo Barrasa, Vice President, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
On one end of the spectrum, an aggressive & collective push to decarbonize will result in less than 25% of the energy mix coming from fossil fuels by 2050. However, more realistic scenarios would maintain the dependence on fossil fuels at a minimum of 55% of the total energy mix. Given the effects over the last few years, it has become apparent that geopolitical uncertainty must be factored; as a result, the diverse response to the energy trilemma of reliability, sustainability & affordability will yield an uneven evolution of the energy transition. Will there be sufficient feedstock material to satisfy future petrochemical demand? Join us as we answer this question at the heart of the petrochemical industry’s own energy trilemma.
Geoff Mullett, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Discussion of the mainland China short to medium term coal market and implications for coal-to-methanol and CTO/MTO.
Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Current methanol feedstocks are almost exclusively natural gas and Chinese coal. Demand growth in the last ten years has been largely driven by MTO, with strong fuels growth. But as growth into fuels and MTO declines, future demand will be driven more by traditional chemical derivatives, with methanol into marine fuel a constantly growing and topical upside. The industry is beginning its decarbonization journey, with new technologies and feedstocks and some consumers looking to purchase green, not grey methanol. This speech will discuss the anticipated evolution of the methanol industry over the next decade, the implications for pricing, supply-demand, trade, and the types of companies participating in the market.
Aarnoud van Weelderen, Senior Managing Director, Macquarie Group
Moderator: Javier Ortiz, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated break. Sessions to resume at 11:05.

Session 2: Regional Methanol Focus

Xiaomeng Ma, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
In Asia, Methanol to Olefins has been the biggest driver for demand growth in the previous decade. But there is no new MTO capacity forecast to come onstream after 2023. Some MTO operators have back-integrated into more traditional olefins production, allowing flexibility of asset operation that could lead to methanol demand volatility. In this session, the evolving Asian supply-demand status will be analyzed. The presentation will also explore the new opportunities for green methanol production and demand for methanol into clean energy applications, as well as the regional methanol trade flows.
Geoff Mullett, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
A look at the short and medium term opportunities in the European methanol market after 2 volatile years ranging from peak demand to extreme destocking. The presentation will consider traditional and new feedstocks, a rebalancing of trade flows and new demand sectors.
Javier Ortiz, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
The latest North American capacity expansions have arrived in time to offset supply shortages caused by sanctions and higher feedstock costs in other parts of the world. Weaker global demand, however, is challenging the absorption of this new supply as well as the profitability of an industry increasingly pressured to become more eco-friendly. This session will discuss how the market will approach this imbalance, providing an update on the latest near-term supply/demand outlook, while also looking into the future of regional methanol capacity and its role in supporting a market in need of more sustainable raw materials and fuels.
Geoff Mullett, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
With global demand growth often focused on China this presentation will look at India’s quiet but rapid demand growth and how its nature as a spot buyer brings in deep-sea supply rather than just a reliance on ‘local’ Middle East producers. There will be a discussion about projects and assets – where announcements and capacity do not equal production.
Moderator: Shreya Kansara, Principal Analyst, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Session 3: Derivative Focus

Kevin van Balkom, Process Engineer Licensing & Projects, Dynea AS
Formaldehyde is a building block in the synthesis of many compounds important in our daily life. The C1 compound is the largest methanol derivative. The short-term formaldehyde market looks challenging due to the downturn of industry and high inflation which are impacting the construction, automotive, and furniture industry. The formaldehyde market outlook will be presented and the trend for process technology needed to produce sustainable formaldehyde, with focus on high safety and low operational cost.
Julian Skibitzki, Director Acetyls, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
The global energy crisis has resulted in global economic headwinds. Feedstock prices have been significantly higher in some regions resulting in fundamental shifts in production costs, production output and trade flows.
Matthew Thoelke, Executive Director, Olefins & Derivatives, Europe, Middle East & Africa Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
The rapid build in Chinese capacity that has seen a huge addition in the past 4 years has left the global ethylene and propylene markets with a huge excess of capacity, even considering a future strong rebound from the pandemic and energy crises. The methanol route to olefins sits in an unusual position with a  very different cost structure than traditional routes. What will the excess mean for methanol demand into olefins? Where on the supply curve will the market settle given methanol costs and affordability?
Moderator: Geoff Mullett, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated break. Sessions to resume at 1540.

Session 4: Fuel Uses for Methanol

Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Edgar Ahn, Chief Technology Officer, BDI
The presentation will focus on the history, global development, current threats and a possible future of biodiesel application in the transport sector, with a focus on the EU. In particular, it will address how the upcoming European biofuel legislation as well as competition for fat feedstock with HVO/HEFA production will affect the European biodiesel industry. Derived from this, the possible effects on methanol consumption in biodiesel production will be debated.
Frankie Ugboma, Dimeta Chief Executive Officer & Internal DME Association Chair

This presentation highlights Renewable and Recycled Carbon DME’s pivotal role in driving sustainable growth and fostering a just and inclusive transition for all. Delving into the production of Renewable and Recycled Carbon DME through renewable feedstocks and technology pathways, I will showcase how Renewable and Recycled Carbon DME is a transformative solution that can promote environmental stewardship by decarbonising the LPG industry and revolutionising the energy landscape.

Remko Koster, Director, C4s and Elastomers for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
MTBE demand is primarily driven by its use in the gasoline pool. Demand growth is not only a function of gasoline demand, but also depends heavily on developments in gasoline specifications and other regulatory changes, such as for biofuels. The key drivers going forward include the electrification of the car fleet, competition between oxygenates in the gasoline pool, and expected supply growth of C4 olefins.
Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Session Speakers

Edgar Ahn Chief Innovation Officer BDI

Edgar Ahn, Chief Innovation Officer at BDI, studied process engineering (specializing in chemical plant engineering) at the Graz University of Technology and obtained his doctorate in 1997 in the field of reaction kinetics investigation of biodiesel production. After working as a university assistant at Graz University of Technology for several years, he became head of R&D at BDI. In 1998/99, he completed the international export management-training program of the European Commission in Tokyo, Japan. After his return, he was in charge of the R&D department at BDI until 2005 and became Head of Technical Sales in 2006. In 2008, EA was promoted to Head of Innovation Management at BDI and was thus responsible for the overall management of the R&D activities within the BDI Group. EA has been responsible for innovation management for the entire BDI Group (BDI Holding GmbH) as Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) since August 2018.

Kevin van Balkom Process Engineer Licensing and Projects Dynea AS

Kevin van Balkom is Process Engineer working with licensing of formaldehyde technology at the Licensing and Projects department of Dynea AS. Kevin van Balkom holds a degree [MSc.] in chemical engineering from Eindhoven University of Technology with a focus on multi-scale modelling of multiphase flows. Dynea is a leader in the European wood adhesives market with a broad portfolio of adhesives for the wood processing industries. Dynea licenses the silver catalyst formaldehyde process, both for new formaldehyde plants as well as revamps.

Carlo Barrasa Vice President, Energy Insights Team Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Carlo Barrasa is the Vice President of Energy Insights at Chemical Market Analytics In this role, Carlo stewards the development of energy market content to help Chemical Market Analytics’ clients navigate the complexities of the oil, gas & natural gas liquids markets. Previously, Carlo led the North American Light Olefins service, which provides clients with valuable insights into the regional market dynamics of cracker feedstocks, ethylene, and propylene. Before joining Chemical Market Analytics, Carlo was a Senior Strategy Advisor at Anadarko Petroleum, where he was responsible for guiding the company's market strategy for its natural gas liquids business. After beginning his career in various downstream and chemical roles with ExxonMobil, Carlo held senior consulting and research positions at IHS Markit legacy companies PFC Energy and CMAI.

Shreya Kansara Principal Analyst Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Shreya Kansara is a Senior Research Analyst with the Syngas team at Chemical Market Analytics. Ms. Kansara is responsible for maintaining and updating the global data files including the econometric models. She also provides support to the team for various analyses, client queries, presentations, publication of the Weekly and Monthly reports, and the World Analysis. Before taking on her current role in 2018, she worked as a business analyst for the President of a prominent Chemicals company in India. She holds a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Marketing from the University of Mumbai, India.

Remko Koster EMEA C4 & Elastomers Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Remko Koster is the Director for EMEA C4 & Elastomers at Chemical Market Analytics. After obtaining his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Amsterdam, Dr. Koster worked from 2000-2011 at DSM and Sabic in the petrochemical industry in varying roles in R&D, market intelligence, and commercial departments. He was the commercial manager for SABIC in Europe for C4 products, benzene and derivatives, and heavy aromatics. His last role at Sabic was as global market intelligence lead for PP (polypropylene). In 2011, he joined CMAI (now Chemical Market Analytics) as the consultant for PE and PP, before switching to the C4 & Elastomers lead role for EMEA in 2017. Dr. Koster leads the global tire type indices service, is a main contributor to the global C4 olefins & elastomers report, several world analysis services, and is a frequent speaker at conferences. He is an expert in steam cracker products and various polymers and elastomer markets.

Xiaomeng Ma Director, Asia Methanol Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Xiaomeng Ma is the Director of Asia Methanol at Chemical Market Analytics Xiaomeng is an experienced researcher with a strong track-record working experience in the industrial sectors spanning from petrochemical markets, and specialty chemical industries to energy and fuel industries. Xiaomeng Ma's current focuses are on methanol-related industries. She is skilled in project assessment, building and implementing business strategies, and creating economic models. She has a strong professional background with a Masters in Engineering and a realistic understanding of the opportunities and challenges in the Asia chemical industry.

Mike Nash Vice President, Global Syngas Team Lead | Americas Acetyls Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Mr. Mike Nash is the Vice President for Syngas Chemicals (including the methanol and acetyls practices) at Chemical Market Analytics. He works with a global team of regional consultants and overlays their analyses with a global perspective. His responsibilities include the weekly World Methanol Report and monthly World Methanol Analysis, including the weekly and monthly Global Acetyls Market Reports and the related World Analyses for Methanol, Acetyls, and Formaldehyde. Before joining the IHS Markit base chemicals business (now known as Chemical Market Analytics) in September 2012, Mr. Nash worked for BP's petrochemicals division for 19 years preceding a two-year stint in Total's UK fuels business. He performed various commercial roles within BP, in international business management, marketing, project management, and logistics, based in London, Duesseldorf, and Kuala Lumpur. His last role in the Total UK was the Logistics Director for Specialties. Mr. Nash holds a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from Edinburgh University, UK, and a Master of Business Administration from Kingston University, UK.

Javier Ortiz Director, North & South America Methanol Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Javier Ortiz is the Director for the North and South American Methanol market at Chemical Market Analytics. As of 2019, Mr. Ortiz leads methanol market coverage in the Americas. He began his consulting career at CMAI (Chemical Market Associates, Inc.) in 2007 as a research analyst for the North and South American synthetic fibers markets with a primary focus on the polyester and nylon supply chains. He was subsequently appointed global leader of CMAI's senior research analyst group while taking over consulting coverage of the nylon raw materials markets in the Americas. Before joining the IHS Markit base chemicals business (now known as Chemical Market Analytics) Methanol team, Mr. Ortiz formed part of its Plastics group for nearly a decade, where he led coverage of the polyolefins markets in Latin American, directed the QuiMax Latin American consulting service, and was also responsible for polystyrene market research in the Americas. He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering and a minor in Business Administration from Texas A&M University, US.

Matthew Thoelke Vice President for Olefins and Derivatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Matthew Thoelke is the Vice President for Olefins and Derivatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Chemical Market Analytics. During his time with Chemical Market Analytics (formerly part of IHS Markit base chemicals business), and CMAI, Matthew took a variety of roles across a broad range of product areas. With over 20 years of experience, Matthew acts as the key resource within the business for understanding and insight into the olefins sector of the petrochemical industry, for these key regions, he works closely with the petrochemical, oil and financial industries, bringing support and guidance throughout the petrochemical chain. Current specific responsibilities include the European/Middle East Report Olefins and primary input and support for the World Ethylene and Propylene Analyses. Previously within CMAI, Mr. Thoelke has worked in both olefins and aromatics consulting in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa with key responsibilities in olefins, but also in aromatics markets. His previous role had a primary focus on butadiene and elastomers, in which subjects he remains a globally recognized industry speaker and expert. His responsibilities included input to the Global Outlook - Feedstocks, Elastomers Report, European Market Report Aromatics, Aromatics Market Report, and taking the lead role in analyzing olefin and derivative markets in support of the long-term planning outlooks in the World Analysis. Educated at Cambridge University Mr. Thoelke received a BA and MA in Material Sciences before completing a Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering (ACDMM).

Frankie Ugboma CEO Dimeta

Frankie Ugboma is the CEO of Dimeta, responsible for developing and implementing Dimeta's mission: advancing the production of Renewable & Recycled Carbon DME to accelerate the LPG Industry's transition to Net Zero. With a solid commitment to sustainability, Frankie has been at the forefront of driving positive change in the energy sector. Before Dimeta, he led the successful development of energy infrastructure projects across public and private sectors working with SHV Energy, Islington Council, ENI, EDF & Fortis Bank. He also launched the world's first waste heat network, connecting the London Underground to 1,500 customers. Under his leadership, the renewable ESCO customer base grew exponentially, reaching nearly 4,000 customers. He also played a pivotal role in developing the 450 million EUR Malta LNG-to-power project. Additionally, Frankie serves as the Chair of the International DME Association, and he is a member of the Industry Council for the World LPG Association.

Aarnoud van Weelderen Senior Managing Director Macquarie Group

Aarnoud van Weelderen is a Senior Managing Director of Macquarie Group within the Commodities and Global Markets business.  He is a member of the Group’s Energy Transition Steering Committee. Aarnoud manages origination, structuring and engagements across physical oil, products and renewable fuels (methanol, ammonia, renewable diesel, SAF) for the Americas.  He is a physical and financial energy professional deploying Macquarie’s A+ rated balance sheet across the Americas in physical (supply, offtake, logistics), financial (hedging) and capital (debt) strategies to help governments and companies develop, optimize and protect their assets, creating value for stakeholders and opportunities for their local communities. Prior to joining the Group in 2018, Aarnoud worked in similar roles with JPMorgan’s Global Commodities Group and Goldman Sachs Commodities Group across their offices in New York, Chicago and Calgary.  Aarnoud earned a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business.
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