Saudi's SABIC to shut 700,000 tonne/year MTBE plant in Feb-Mar

07 February 2011 06:49  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--Petrochemical giant SABIC plans to shut its 700,000 tonne/year methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) plant at Al-Jubail in Saudi Arabia from February to March, traders said on Monday.

“Our SABIC MTBE plant is under the planned maintenance [sic]. Inventory has been built up and [there is] no disturbance on supply,” communications director Lili Koh said in an email to ICIS, without elaborating on the length of the shutdown.

SABIC, which is the world’s largest producer of MTBE, shut its 1m tonne/year and 300,000 tonne/year MTBE units for regular maintenance from late December 2010 to early February 2011. It was not immediately known if the two units had restarted yet.

Tight global MTBE supply had boosted Asian spot premiums to the high $20s/tonne (€15/tonne) to market quotes on a delivered basis, traders said.

MTBE is used as an additive to improve gasoline's octane levels.

($1 = €0.74)

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By: Felicia Loo

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