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.
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Methyl tertiary butyl ether: Market overview
Updated to Q4 2016
In Europe, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) began Q4 in a balanced position, with a couple of production turnarounds not seen as likely to affect the market significantly. The onset of winter specification gasoline blending, which typically includes fewer components such as MTBE, heralds the beginning of a quieter season. Speculation over the impact of changes to US and Chinese gasoline specifications in 2017 also surfaced. Europe players have an eye on whether increased demand for blending components will impact their blending pool.
There are heavy expectations that Q4 will be a dull season for Asia’s MTBE market, because of traditionally slower gasoline demand and lower demand for blendstocks. Demand from key Singapore-based blenders is likely to be on a need-to basis and this could have a negative impact on prices. Chinese import demand looks uncertain because of sufficient domestic supply. While a large part of the market is expecting better import demand from China ahead of gasoline specification changes by January 2017, there are talks that domestic supply is likely to cover any increase in demand.
In the US, MTBE is entering its seasonal slow period with gasoline markets on winter specification fuels. While MTBE is a common octane booster in gasoline in summer, when fuels must be less volatile, fuel blenders can use less expensive components in winter, like butane. 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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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.