Methanol may be produced by carbonylating alcohols in the presence of alkali metal to produce alkyl formates which are then hydrogenated to produce the original alcohol and methanol. As part of a study of methanol production by this route, the present investigation has been concerned with the hydrogenolysis of alkyl formates over copper chromite catalysts. Hydrogenolysis of a series of alkyl formates has been found to proceed at moderate temperatures and pressures but the methanol produced reacts with the original alkyl formate to produce methyl formate and the original alcohol. The latter transesterification reaction exhibits a rapid equilibrium, the position of which is little influenced by temperature. Preliminary studies of the effect of formate structure on hydrogenolysis and transesterification reactions have been carried out.