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.
Updated to Q4 2019
Supply of MTBE decreased on upstream maintenance shutdowns of crude oil refineries and problems encountered at several MTBE plants, leading to shutdown and/or reduced operation at these sites. The market generally saw a reduction of available spot cargoes. Into September, attacks on Saudi oil facilities and an explosion at India’s MTBE unit in Haldia further heightened the tightness situation.
Demand for MTBE increased on improved demand of the downstream product gasoline. Wider spread between different RON grades was seen, due to relatively tighter high RON gasoline. Blenders tended to purchase more MTBE to make higher RON gasoline under better margin.
Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) supply was curtailed at the start of Q4 by prolonged maintenance at Evonik’s butadiene plant in Belgium which contributed to tightened supply. Supply remained tight as strikes in France disrupted distribution logistics in the country with stocks being constrained to the port of Marseilles. Increasing North American demand and cheaper methanol prices led to supply stabilising by December. Producers with dual production capacities favoured MTBE over ETBE production due to higher profit margins.
Domestic demand started to slip from October as the winter driving season approached. Increased exports to fill the US supply gap caused by the TPC and Huntsman outages increased overall demand for European MTBE by end of December. MTBE is still clearly attractive for its blending as well as production margins with Spain, Greece and Italy predominantly driving Q4 demand.
US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) supply was steady during the third quarter, with no major production hiccups. Total domestic production was stronger during the quarter, and exports of the product increased accordingly with the top two destinations for US product being Mexico and Chile.
Demand for US-produced MTBE, which is chiefly exported to international markets, continued to be robust. MTBE is added to gasoline to boost octane levels. Mexico was the top destination for the oxygenate, with Chile, Venezuela and Belgium receiving product as well. MTBE was phased out in the US in favour of corn-based ethanol.
We offer the following regional Methyl tertiary butyl ether analysis and news coverage to keep you informed of factors and developments affecting prices in the Methyl tertiary butyl ether marketplace.
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Around 95% of MTBE produced is used as an octane booster and oxygenate in gasoline.
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.
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