Ethyl tertiary butyl ether Prices, markets & analysis
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Ethyl tertiary butyl ether Overview Transcript
Ethyl tertiary butyl ether, or ETBE is a gasoline blending agent made from bioethanol. It increases the oxygenate level and improves the quality of gases.
It performs a similar role to traditional gasoline components such as MTBE but has added value because it is a biofuel.
EU mandated renewable fuel targets mean that biofuels in Europe command a premium over regular fuel equivalents and ETBE is traded on a premium over MTBE because of that.
The European ETBE market is subject to seasonal variations in demand, similar to those in the gasoline markets and can also be subject to fluctuations in supply. This is because, in addition to European production, the market relies on imports from South America.
The price of ETBE, while being largely determined by that of MTBE, is also influenced by supply and demand fundamentals, as well as the price of feedstock bioethanol, which is itself subject to a high degree of variability. It’s an unpredictable market.
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Ethyl tertiary butyl ether: Market overview
Demand for European ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) is expected to remain low during Q1 2014, in line with seasonal expectations.
Volumes will continue to be shifted contractually, with demand from EU-mandated renewable fuel targets ever present. However, additional consumption is expected to remain poor and ETBE premiums will be at low levels as a result.
Furthermore, ETBE stock levels are expected to remain at high levels, placing further downward pressure on prices.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) production economics remain good, leading suppliers to favour the production of MTBE over ETBE. It is anticipated that this will also continue during Q1.
Market participants remain hopeful for an improvement in demand for ETBE towards the end of the quarter, with the warmer weather bringing with it a higher demand for gasoline and its related products.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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Ethyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Methodology
About Ethyl tertiary butyl ether
Ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) is an oxygenated fuel that can be blended with gasoline to make it burn more cleanly. ETBE is produced from ethanol and isobutylene. It is used for octane improvement and motor fuel volatility control.
ETBE is clear in appearance and although virtually colourless it does have a slight yellow appearance and a strong odour. In addition, the fuel is highly flammable.
The ETBE and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) processes are similar, and a number of MTBE units in Europe have been converted to use ethanol feedstock for ETBE production in order to meet biofuels targets.