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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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Updated to Q2 2016
US MTBE rose during most of Q2, but gave back some gains during June as prices trended down slightly.
Despite the late quarter downturn, prices remain above Q1 multi-year lows.
MTBE exports were strengthening early in the quarter with levels in April 60% stronger than the same month the previous year. The top destination remains Mexico, followed by Venezuela and Chile.
One MTBE producer reported a short shutdown for maintenance during the second quarter.
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.
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