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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 Q4 2016
US methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) prices moved lower through most of the fourth quarter, but recovered slightly in late November on stronger energy and gasoline markets.
MTBE demand tends to be lower during norther hemisphere winter as it is used as an octane booster in summer fuels. In winter, fuel blenders can use cheaper octane boosters like butane.
MTBE exports and production, which had been strong in the summer months, began to fall off in June and continued a general downtrend through August, according to the most recent statistics.
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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