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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Updated to Q1 2015
US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) started 2015 with tight supplies as multiple plants experienced turnarounds.
MTBE prices, which are calculated at a 2-cent premium to Europe prices, began the year on a sharp plunge from the end of 2014, bringing spot market prices as low as 150 cents/gal.
Prices rose in January and February to a high of 231 cents/gal as US traders referenced strong demand.
Also bringing those prices up was maintenance. At least three of the five US plants were down for maintenance in the first quarter of 2015. All three were slated to be back up and running by the end of March. Feedstocks methanol and isobutylene saw some supply shortage during the turnarounds as well.
March brought a decline in price as supplies became more abundant in the US.
MTBE was outlawed as a gasoline additive in the US years ago. However, markets remain abroad, most notably Mexico and countries in South America.
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