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Japan's MGC weighs options for methanol cargoes after blast on Kokuka Courageous tanker: sources

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Japan's MGC weighs options for methanol cargoes after blast on Kokuka Courageous tanker: sources

Singapore — Mitsubishi Gas Chemical is considering various options to replace its methanol cargoes on its stricken tanker, Kokuka Courageous, among which include buying from the open spot market, shipping cargoes from its Brunei methanol plant or do a time swap with traders, market sources said Friday.

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CFR Southeast Asia first-half July arrival offers were reported at $315/mt Friday. S&P Global Platts assessed CFR Southeast Asia for deliveries over July 3-23 at $310/mt Thursday, up $2/mt from Wednesday.

The Kokuka Courageous was carrying 24,000 mt of methanol when an explosion occurred onboard the vessel Thursday, causing damage on the starboard side of its hull.

Similar blasts occurred on the Front Altair, which was carrying 75,000 mt of naphtha. Both tankers were in Gulf of Oman Thursday.

Trade sources said Kokuka Courageous was expected in Singapore at the end of June, after which, she would head to Map Ta Phut to discharge around 17,000 mt of methanol.

"The Map Ta Phut requirement is from July 5 onwards. There is still time to find replacements," a source close to the matter said. "Or they could spread out their requirement, don't take all 10,000 mt or 13,000 mt in one go," he added.

As the cargoes were meant for Mitsubishi's petrochemical subsidiaries in Thailand and Singapore, the shortage would affect MGC and not so much the wider Southeast Asian market. However, it could still push prices higher in the short-term.

"Fundamentals in Southeast Asia are long, there are so many Middle Eastern cargoes competing for the same few customers," a trader said.

Other alternatives which MGC could pursue is to swap cargoes with suppliers and return the cargo to them at a later time, or ship cargoes from its 850,000 mt/year plant in Brunei, market sources said.

When contacted on Friday, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Gas Chemical said he did not have relevant information to comment on the matter.

-- Esther Ng, esther.ng@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Norazlina Jumaat, newsdesk@spglobal.com