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 2017
There are strong expectations that supply will increase, especially for Middle East-origin cargoes, because of the better netbacks for sellers to Asia amid the arbitrage spread with Europe. Meanwhile, supply from Asia-based producers - especially in China - is likely to be balanced-to-long as well after some plants return from forced shutdowns in August-September.
Buying activity is likely to slow down as the market enters a seasonal lull in October and November, amid slower gasoline demand in southeast Asia and a narrower motor gasoline (mogas) cracks. Chinese demand is also not likely to provide any support to the market because of the lower gasoline export quota for the fourth quarter.
Availability is expected to pick up in Q4, following several planned turnarounds in Europe towards the end of Q3. Industry players expect the market to be long during the traditionally quieter winter months; however, some market players question how much the added demand from South America for European product, still being seen in the market at the end of Q3, will affect supply at the beginning of the next quarter.
Seasonally low demand is expected in Q4, with the switch to winter grade gasoline due to happen at the beginning of October. MTBE is traditionally used more in summer grade gasoline because of its low reid vapour pressure (RVP), a measure of its propensity to evaporate.
Demand will continue ramp back up after Hurricane Harvey.
International demand for the fuel oxygenate is expected to remain high, especially in Latin America with the seasonal shift in travel demand to heighten.
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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.