WMC 2024 – Day 1

22-24 October 2024 | Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel
Copenhagen, Denmark

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Session Details

WMC 2024 – Day 1

Wednesday, 23 October
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Session 1: Old World – Strategic & Business Issues

This session analyzes the global economic outlook, as well as the energy landscape and what that means for the global methanol industry. The conference theme will also be explored, giving an explanation behind the two methanol worlds—grey and low carbon—and drawing a picture of the outlook for both worlds. Session One provides answers to the following key questions (among many others):

  • What will energy prices mean for methanol economics and demand?
  • How will methanol demand growth be influenced by the global economy and geopolitics?
  • How will the two worlds of methanol evolve?
  • Will we see separate pricing mechanisms for grey and low-carbon methanol?
Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Matthew Thoelke, Vice President, Olefins, Europe, Middle East & Africa Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS  
Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS  
In the short-term, the grey methanol market looks oversupplied. Methanol demand growth is slowing down, with more reliance on traditional chemical derivatives and bunker fuel and less on MTO and conventional fuels applications. The demand for low-carbon methanol in all of its colours is increasing, but will there be enough low-carbon methanol to satisfy demand, where will these new units be built and how will they compete economically against world-scale methanol units?
Carl Roache, Director, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Ammonia is another option for companies looking to monetize natural gas and can be co-produced with methanol. This presentation looks at the global industry landscape and the demand outlook for the main end-use applications. It also analyses the potential for green ammonia. It considers the role that ammonia could play as a marine bunker fuel and compares the pros and cons of ammonia and methanol as zero-sulfur and low or zero-carbon fuels for the shipping industry.
Moderator: Andrei Akzhigitov, Director Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated break. Sessions to resume at 1050.

Session 2: Old World – Regional Methanol Focus

The Chemical Market Analytics regional consultants will highlight the different characteristics and outlooks for the major methanol regions, covering geopolitical impacts, production, new projects for both grey and green methanol, demand by major derivatives and inter-regional trade. The following key questions will be discussed and answered during this key conversation:

  • Where will we see new grey and green capacity being developed and why?
  • How will this influence methanol trade flows?
  • How competitive are olefins produced via methanol? What is the outlook for Methanol to Olefins?
  • Will more MTO units be built?
  • Will West Europe remain a major importer of methanol?
  • Will the Middle East continue to act as the world’s swing producer?
Xiaomeng Ma, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Asia is the world’s largest methanol producer, consumer and importer. Current methanol feedstocks are almost exclusively fossil fuel-based in Asia. Methanol plays an important role in energy transition and sustainability development. As growth into MTO and conventional fuels applications declines, future demand will be driven more by traditional chemical derivatives. 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 Asian methanol industry, the implications for pricing, supply-demand, trade, and the types of companies participating in the market.

Andrei Akzhigitov, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

At the heart of Europe’s dynamic energy sector, grey methanol production, derived from fossil resources, stands at a crossroads between traditional industrial practices and the increasingly urgent need for sustainability. This presentation aims to offer a thorough analysis of the challenges and opportunities confronting the methanol industry in Europe. We will explore how these challenges are influencing the future of methanol production across the continent.

Javier Ortiz, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

The Americas’ methanol market will see another large increase in capacity this year, but global economic headwinds and a lack of new applications will make it challenging for demand to absorb incremental production over the next few years. This session will review how the regional industry is expected to overcome these challenges in the near term while also looking to develop its role in a world demanding options to reduce it’s carbon footprint.

Andrei Akzhigitov, Director, Methanol, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

The Middle East is a significant grey methanol production hub, targeting exports to Europe, India and China due to its natural gas resources and low regional demand. Despite low production costs, challenges like sanctions, logistical hurdles, and the push for green alternatives complicate the forecast. This presentation will examine grey methanol’s complex role in the Middle East, analyzing its impact on sustainability and exploring its potential evolution.

Moderator: Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 

Session 3: Old World – Derivative Focus

Some of the main chemical derivatives markets will be explored in more detail, highlighting where new capacity is likely to be built, growth prospects, demand drivers, and the impact of the chemical industry’s journey to decarbonize. In this session, attendees will learn key market intelligence surrounding the following:

  • Is there a danger that new formaldehyde exposure restrictions will decrease its demand?
  • How are acetylated wood and the solar industry driving growth in the Acetyls industry?
  • Why has the MMA market had such a rollercoaster ride?

Formaldehyde is the largest global methanol derivative, consuming around 1 in 4 tons of methanol in 2023. This presentation will look at the various uses for formaldehyde, their growth rates, and what is driving this growth. It will also discuss the topic of toxicity evaluations of formaldehyde and how this could impact formaldehyde and its derivative supply chains.

Norbert Baum, Vice President, Global Business Development, HELM AG

The global acetyls industry is growing at a healthy pace, yet there are challenges with governments, consumers, and industries pushing for safer, more sustainable solutions. This presentation will give insights regarding the current state of the acetyls industry in light of this transition to a greener future including the technology & process, sustainability considerations, road to commercialization and cooperation and distribution with HELM.

Matthew Thoelke, Vice President, Olefins, Europe, Middle East & Africa Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

MTO remains a relatively high-cost manufacturing route to olefins. In the medium term, the global ethylene and propylene markets are oversupplied, putting pressure on MTO operating rates and economics. This presentation will analyze what is driving growth for ethylene and propylene when operating rates are expected to return to more typical levels, and what role MTO producers are likely to play in these olefins markets.

Moderator: Mike Nash, Vice President, Syngas Chemicals, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated break. Sessions to resume at 1535.

Session 4: Old World – Fuel Uses for Methanol

The outlook for methanol demand into the main fuel markets will be analyzed. This will include the likely influence of legislation and the impact of energy transition at the national and corporate levels. Join us as the answers to the questions posed below and many more are addressed in this “can’t miss” session:

  • When will demand for methanol as a gasoline blendstock and for MTBE peak and what does their subsequent decline look like?
  • Does M100 really have realistic growth potential in China?
  • Will the sustainability agenda mean that no more coal-based units will be built in China?
  • Does the biodiesel industry rely on government blending mandates for its growth?
  • Is there any future for DME outside China?

 

Session Speakers

Andrei Akzhigitov EMEA Methanol Director Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Andrei Akzhigitov is the Director of the Mathanol at Chemical Market Analytics. Andrei Akzhigitov is the EMEA Methanol consultant for Syngas Chemicals at Chemical Market Analytics. His responsibilities include the weekly World Methanol Report and monthly World Methanol Analysis,  focusing on the EMEA region. Before joining Chemical Market Analytics in February 2024, Andrei Akzhigitov worked for over 20 years with well-known companies in the chemical sector, such as Evonik, Brenntag, Metafrax, and Sibur. He has a rich history of working on diverse methanol projects, optimizing supply chains, handling trade, spearheading derivative production, and engaging in R&D. His career has led him to work in cities like Moscow, Hanau, and Amman. Mr. Akzhigitov has a Master’s in Chemistry from Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia and has also completed a marketing program at Mannheim Business School in Germany.

Norbert Baum Vice President Global Business Development HELM AG

Norbert Baum has over 30 years of experience and is the Vice President of Global Business Development at HELM AG. Before this, Norbert served as the Managing Director for HELM Proman Methanol AG and held various other roles at HELM including global responsibilities for the methanol business as well as ethylene glycols. Prior to joining HELM he had roles at BP Group and VEBA OEL AG. Norbert has a diploma in Economics, Natural & Applied Wood Science from the University of Hamburg Germany.

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 of the North and South American methanol market at Chemical Market Analytics. Javier Ortiz is the North and South American methanol market director 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 market, primarily focusing 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 market in Latin American, directed the QuiMax Latin American consulting service, and was also responsible for polystyrene market research in the Americas. He holds a degree in industrial engineering and a minor in business administration from Texas A&M University, US.

Carl Roache Executive Director, Ammonia and Urea Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Carl Roache is the Executive Director of Ammonia and Urea at Chemical Market Analytics. Carl Roache is the market director of ammonia and urea at Chemical Market Analytics (CMA). He joined the company in 2024 and leads analysis and pricing globally from London, UK. Before joining CMA, Mr. Roache was EuroChem’s global business development manager for NPK fertilizers, based in Dubai, UAE. From here, he coordinated global NP/NPK sales from the company’s 1.2mn t/yr Antwerp plant. Before this, he was EuroChem’s Asia NPK business development lead, based in Singapore, where he developed and executed an NPK growth strategy, widening commercial territory and facilitating increased sales. Mr Roache has also worked for price reporting agencies within the fertilizer sector in the UK and Asia, including spells as global nitrogen and potash lead (ICIS) and Europe and Asia regional editorships (Argus Media). He has completed executive strategy, financial analysis, and management training, as well as a first-class honors degree in American and English History from the University of East Anglia, UK. Mr Roache is an NCTJ/NCE qualified newspaper journalist, starting his career with Northcliffe Media group in the UK.

Matthew Thoelke Vice President, EMEA Olefins 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. Matthew Thoelke is the vice president of the olefins and derivatives team in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Chemical Market Analytics. During his time with the company, he has taken a wide variety of roles across a broad range of product areas. With over 25 years of experience, Matthew is a key resource within the business for understanding and insight into the olefins sector of the petrochemical industry. Within the EMEA region, he works closely with the petrochemical, oil and financial industries, bringing support and guidance throughout the petrochemical chain. His current area of focus includes oversight of the ‘Europe and the Middle East Olefins Report’ and primary input and insight for the ‘World Ethylene and Propylene Analyses.’ His prior experience includes coverage of butadiene and elastomers, for which he remains a globally recognized industry speaker and expert. Whilst in this role, Mathew was responsible for the ‘Global Outlook — Feedstocks, Elastomers Report’ and the ‘World Butadiene Analysis’ and took the lead role in analyzing olefin and derivative markets in support of the long-term planning outlooks in the World Analysis. Mr. Thoelke has both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Material Sciences from Cambridge University, as well as a Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering (ACDMM).
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