CO₂ Emissions and Energy Consumption
We continue to reduce our CO₂ emissions intensity from manufacturing.
In 2018, Methanex generated 4,093,573 tonnes of CO₂ emissions (Scope 1, on an equity basis) from methanol production. Our CO₂ emissions intensity decreased by 2% (0.568 tonnes of CO₂ per tonne of methanol in 2018, compared to 0.580 in 2017). This reduction of emissions intensity was achieved even while methanol production increased slightly (by 24,000 tonnes).
The improved CO₂ emissions intensity is due in part to improved gas supply in Chile and Egypt, resulting in higher production with improved efficiency, reduced consumption of natural resources, and reduced emissions to the environment. Higher production contributed to a 1% increase in our total energy consumption from natural gas.
In 2018, our indirect CO₂ emissions (Scope 2 emissions, on an equity basis), which are primarily from purchased electricity, increased by 1% to 206,596 tonnes. This was the result of higher electricity use to support higher production levels in Egypt. Our consumption of renewable electricity (hydropower) decreased by 29% due to plant outages from two plant maintenance turnarounds at our New Zealand sites. New Zealand is the only country where we purchase electricity produced with renewable energy. (See the environmental data summary table at the end of this chapter for more data on electricity consumption.)
With six manufacturing sites and 11 operational plants, we continually look to improve our overall plant reliability and maximize the use of our assets to minimize energy consumption and CO₂ emissions . In 2018, our overall plant reliability was 95%, an improvement from 93% in 2017 but below our target of 97%. We believe this target is achievable, and we continue to focus on reliability as a way to enhance production results and environmental performance.
Historically, the longer-term trend indicates a sustained decrease in CO₂ emissions intensity: from 1994 to 2018, we’ve had an overall decrease of 36% in emissions intensity. Initially, the decrease was achieved by removing some of our older plants from active service. More recently, the addition of newer plants, improved catalysts, and improvements to the reliability of existing plants have further lowered the emissions intensity of our operations.
CO₂ Emissions from Methanol Production (Scope 1)
Increasing production in Chile while minimizing emissions intensity
A reliable source of natural gas is critical for efficient methanol production. When plants have intermittent gas supply issues, they may either operate at reduced capacity or be shut down temporarily. Interruptions to production result in increased energy consumption and corresponding CO₂ emissions.
In Chile, we signed agreements with four natural gas suppliers. Together with existing gas agreements, this will allow us to maintain a two-plant operation and annual production at rates up to 75% capacity in the near future. This means we can produce methanol more efficiently while also minimizing CO₂ emissions intensity.
We saw a moderate increase in CO₂ emissions intensity from marine shipping.
In 2018, the volume of cargo (i.e., methanol and backhaul cargos) transported by the Waterfront Shipping fleet decreased by 4%, while total CO₂ emissions intensity from the fleet increased by 5% (74.7 kg CO₂ per tonne of cargo, compared to 71.1 kg CO₂ per tonne in 2017). This emissions intensity increase was due to a greater number of long-haul voyages with less backhaul cargo transported during the return trip (see graph), thus lowering fleet utilization. This has been occurring steadily for the last five years, as the number of trans-ocean voyages (which typically have less backhaul cargo) have been increasing.
Historically, we have seen a positive trend in our emissions intensity. Since 2002, Waterfront Shipping’s CO₂ emissions have decreased by 18%. This reduction is mainly due to an overall increase in backhaul cargo, which improved fleet utilization. We have also added newer, more efficient vessels to our fleet, which contributes to a lower proportional emissions intensity across the longer term.
CO₂ Emissions from Marine Shipping (Scope 1)