"We serve essentially every major methanol producer, consumer, trader and ancillary industry participant as an independent, employee-owned, global methanol market advisory."
Can you give an overview of MMSA and what inspired its creation?
In 1998, I oversaw setting up the first Asian consulting office for CMAI (now part of IHS) in Singapore. Relative to the broad-based petrochemical consulting I was engaged with, the methanol story needed a more detailed global analysis, especially with regards to key consuming chemicals like formaldehyde, methanol to olefins, acetic acid, MTBE, and other of the many uses for the product. I founded MMSA in 2004 to give a closer-lens analysis to the methanol producing and consuming markets. Because both supply and demand are dominated by Asia, our vision to this day remains “Global Insight, Asian Perspective.” We decided to set up the business in Singapore because the city offered great conveniences in terms of ease of starting a business, with access to top decision-makers, financiers, and logistics providers, as well as fantastic travel links. Since then, methanol has become the world’s most important base petrochemical. It has taken a great journey of both greater scale and wider application beyond its traditional uses, including blending into gasoline, converted to dimethyl ethers which are then blended into LPG as a feedstock to make ethylene and propylene, and as an alternative fuel to produce biodiesel. These advanced uses allowed MMSA to expand its expertise and services. Today, we serve essentially every major methanol producer, consumer, trader and ancillary industry participant as an independent, employee-owned, global methanol market advisory.
What is MMSA’s service offer and what has been the market reception?
MMSA’ core service is a fact-based and independent provision of unique forward market views which can help companies of many types solve their business needs. Our market reception has been fantastic, building up gradually over the past 17 years to include nearly every major methanol related entity globally.
Since 2005, MMSA has released an annual study, the Methanol and Derivatives Analysis, which has become an industry standard. We also provide a number of multi-client services: the China Monthly Methanol Analysis, a quantitative, technological, and commercial analysis of the methanol space in China; the Methanol Market Weekly Analysis, which spans the current and near-term market for methanol and derivatives; and Methanol Notes™, a one-page thought piece on relevant industry topics issued weekly. Finally, MMSA is often asked to provide one-off reports for clients across a wide variety of topics, including bankable, long term market outlooks, support of financial advisors in mergers and acquisitions, refinancing, and joint venture financings, among others. MMSA also holds the International Methanol Conference in Singapore annually, and plans to do so again this November.
Can you give insight into MMSA’s key methodologies?
A cornerstone of our intelligence is our global database – which includes models providing long term views on supply and demand, prices and margins, supply and demand curve analysis, cost modelling, valuation, among others. Currently, we are building a ship tracking capability through which we can monitor methanol vessels around the world. We have found that advanced technologies and digitalization allow us to efficiently and competitively keep track of global developments, supported by our expert team, which unpacks the data into actionable analysis.
MMSA’s Low Carbon Methanol Forum took place in June 2021. Could you share more details on what this covered?
The event is called “Opportunities and Obstacles in a Nascent Market,” and it gathers low carbon methanol producers and consumers.
Low-carbon methanol (LCM) finds itself in the middle of different GHG reducing pathways, all in their nascent stage. These markets are still very young, small in scale, with great potential to grow.
Ultimately, methanol is an excellent hydrogen carrier, which can serve to enable an improvement in net carbon use. Given that hydrogen is a major challenge to transport, methanol is a great candidate to work towards a high-hydrogen, low carbon economy in existing and future applications.
What are MMSA’s key objectives for the next 2-3 years?
MMSA has always been an innovative and responsive problem-solving company, and we will continue on this path, providing critical, insightful, and useful analysis. We always strive to improve our services in terms of content and regional coverage. Given our size, we can react to client needs quickly and we try to develop novel services for the market, at a very high level, with value well in excess of cost.