Methyl tertiary butyl ether Prices, markets & analysis
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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
Demand for European methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is expected to remain low during Q1 2014, in line with seasonal expectations.
Volumes will continue to be shifted contractually. However, additional consumption is expected to remain low. Any increase in buying interest in the spot market is expected to be to satisfy export demand from South America.
Market participants remain hopeful for an improvement in demand towards the end of the quarter, with the warmer weather bringing with it a higher demand for gasoline and its related products.
US Gulf (USG) methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) spot prices, which are assessed at a 2 cents/gal premium to Europe prices, will continue to follow the trend set by Europe.
USG MTBE spot prices are formula-based on Europe values.
Sources said prices should strengthen going into the spring, as demand for gasoline and other refined products increases.
Updated to mid-Jan 2014
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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.