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 Q2 2018
Supply from deep-sea regions like the Middle East is likely to rise after scheduled turnarounds are completed in second-half April. Furthermore, export availability from China will continue to be readily available amid tepid domestic demand, ahead of the implementation of stricter tax filing regulations since 1 March.
Demand is likely to vary in the different regions, with Chinese import demand to remain weak amid squeezed distributor margins. Southeast Asian demand is likely to remain stable, with enquiries persisting for blenders who need to fulfil their requirements for higher-RON gasoline. Northeast Asian demand will taper down after some refinery shutdowns are completed by May.
Supply of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) is generally expected to remain stable in Q2, although anticipated increased demand in the summer months could tighten the market during the maintenance season towards the end of the second quarter.
As of yet, however, MTBE availability is thought to be plentiful enough to possibly combat any drop in production during that time.
Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) demand is set to increase in the second quarter following the switch to summer grade gasoline, in which more of the octane booster is typically used.
The uptick in buying interest is expected to be delayed this year, with players said to have stocked up in preparation of the switch. Therefore demand is only expected to push up towards the end of Q2.
Turnarounds at two US producers will cut supply levels and keep the US trading around 10 cents/gal over the European market. One turnaround is expected to end in early April, while reduced production at another will end by early May.
Global demand for oxygenate remains high, and is projected to remain that way as gasoline demand across international markets will pick up during the summer travel months.
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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.