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 Q3 2018
Supply may drop slightly because of the persistently narrow arbitrage window for FOB China-origin exports starting August. However, ample Middle Eastern product will be available, because of the better netbacks for them to offload cargoes into Singapore instead of Europe. This is expected to make up for the lack of Chinese cargoes.
Buying activity in Singapore may pick up because blenders firmly believe that prices were close to the bottom, given that current factor and mogas cracks were at a year’s low. Demand from China is likely to pick up as well because of seasonal factors ahead of the traditional driving season in early October.
The supply of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is expected to remain high, although it is not clear whether the high production levels seen earlier in 2018 will continue. Consumption is not likely to be high enough to make a serious dent in supply, but sources say plants could decrease production.
Demand for methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is not expected to peak, although it could increase in July in line with the driving season. Some increased demand for July has been noted by some sources. Demand should decrease by the end of the quarter.
US MTBE supply will remain tight as plants are set to run at capacity for the third quarter. Healthy margins and strong consumption will keep rates up in the US Gulf Coast region. No new MTBE production is expected to start up, while those that are still running will run at full capacity.
Demand for MTBE is expected to remain robust over the third quarter as the summer months tend to increase demand for motor gasoline. Cars use MTBE to enhance the octane and burn cleaner.
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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.