The Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) markets are covered both weekly and daily by ICIS in Asia, Europe and the US. These up-to-date, reliable and informative reports provide vital, unbiased updates to those involved with the industry and allows players to make confident and informed business decisions.
The weekly reports contain spot price assessments for this gasoline blending component over the week and at close of business Friday. Market commentary gives details of deals taking place, domestic news, gasoline updates and graphs. The daily reports focus on price assessments for MTBE, gasoline and related market quotations, with an overview of the day's activity.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether Overview Transcript
Methyl tertiary butyl ether MTBE is a gasoline octane booster. Although MTBE was banned in the United States, China imports a lot of MTBE because it is the world’s number one automarket.
Singapore, which is Asia’s oil trading hub, is also a big MTBE consumer, due to blending demand.
Singapore exports finished gasoline products to Indonesia which is Asia’s biggest gasoline buyer and then Vietnam. Asia also receives MTBE from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
When the arbitrage economics work, southeast Asia MTBE producers sell the product to China. Besides China, Taiwan and South Korea also import MTBE on a regular basis.
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Methyl tertiary butyl ether: Market overview
Updated to Q3 2016
In Europe, depressed values opened the third quarter of 2016 for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), partly impacted by the weakness of Europe’s gasoline complex. Whether the slightly long MTBE supply seen in northwest Europe with a more balanced Mediterranean continues depends on when, and by what level, the summer driving season kicks in. A vessel of MTBE was seen fixed from Europe to the US in early Q3 but it is unclear if this is a widespread trend that will continue. An Italian plant is scheduled for maintenance with a possible capacity expansion.
US MTBE prices are expected to trend lower during Q3 as gasoline blenders changeover to winter fuels. Prices had already begun moderating late in Q2. Production and exports during Q2 have been strong and could remain so during Q3 and put further downward pressure on prices. MTBE was phased out as a gasoline additive in the US several years ago. However, markets remain abroad for US-produced material, most notably in Mexico and countries in South America.
Asia MTBE prices are expected to track gasoline fluctuations in the third quarter of the year, amid unchanged demand-supply fundamentals. Market players are uncertain if Chinese import demand will pick up, given sufficient local ex-tank inventories and oversupply of both blendstocks and blended gasoline. Singapore demand could remain healthy if the FOB Singapore prices remain lower than blend values, but blending activity will be dependent on whether mogas cracks rebound after refinery rate cuts since H2 June.
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Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Methodology
About Methyl tertiary butyl ether
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is a colourless, flammable liquid with a characteristic ether odour. It is soluble in water, alcohol and ether and unstable in acidic solutions. MTBE is highly flammable and can form peroxides on storage.
Around 95% of MTBE produced has been used as an octane booster and as a oxygenate in gasoline. One of its major advantages is its good blending properties and for increasing the octane levels of lead-free gasoline.
MTBE can also be used to make high-purity isobutylene, which can be further processed to make butyl rubber, highly reactive polyisobutylene, methyl methacrylate (MMA) and other smaller derivatives.
MTBE is also used as a solvent and extractant.