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 Q2 2021
Supply largely increased in Q2. In April, a strong MTBE factor resulted in higher production margins, leading to higher incentive for producers to increase production. A planned turnaround was delayed due to labour shortage induced by coronavirus pandemic. In southeast Asia, domestic consumption of MTBE was reduced due to lockdown measures, resulting in additional volumes for export among regional producers.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in India and southeast Asia, demand for MTBE decreased on reduced travelling and falling gasoline consumption. China’s demand for MTBE was also impacted by the introduction of consumption tax on mixed aromatics imports, which weighed on the private gasoline blending market. When crude oil prices hiked in May and June, higher MTBE prices also kept buyers on the sidelines due to shrinking blending margins.
MTBE production capabilities remained largely under-utilised, largely due to movement restrictions-induced poor demand. Producers with dual production capacities continued to favour MTBE over ETBE production due to relatively higher profit margins. Supply capabilities ran unaffected without any major production hurdles, as output was shifted according to demand recovery stemming predominantly from the Mediterranean region.
Europe stepping into peak summer driving season with fewer restrictions on movement by the end of Q2 resulted in improvements in demand across the region. Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal continue to lead the resurgence in MTBE consumption in southern Europe. Firm upstream markets continued to result in healthy MTBE blending margins. Crude-led robust blending margins also helped somewhat rebound a minor increase in spot activities as blenders aimed to capitalise on the peak summer demand.
Supplies continued to tighten in Q2 after the severe February freeze that hit Texas shuttered production temporarily. Exports overall have weakened compared to a pre-pandemic 2019 when countries were taking in more product. The US exists as an export market with little-to-no consumption of MTBE domestically.
Demand for US-produced MTBE – which is chiefly exported to international markets – was lower in Q2. MTBE is added to gasoline to boost octane levels and is primarily exported to Mexico.
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.