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 2019
Supply of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was mixed during the quarter. Hengli Petrochemical started a new 820,000 tonne/year unit in Dalian, China. However, a plant in the Middle East delayed restarting after annual turnarounds. Supply in southeast Asia was also limited by various scheduled turnarounds.
MTBE demand increased in the start of the quarter but decreased on overbuying. As crude oil prices rose in April and May, downstream gasoline rebounded, supporting buying interest for MTBE. However, as oil prices fell at start of June, consumption of MTBE was less than expected, leading to higher stock availability.
Despite increased orders for the oxygenate, some producers reduced output due to poor crude feedstock into refineries, or lowered production in preference of alternative products. New global trade conditions have altered international supply patterns. Imports were ongoing from the Middle East and interest heard from China exporters.
Europe domestic MTBE demand was firm in Q2, with strong refiner and producer margins and increasing demand in late March-to-early June. Export volumes to Latin America, including T1 ARA-stored volumes from Russia, fell after sanctions were imposed on Venezuela.
US methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) supply was steady during the second quarter, with no major production hiccups. Total domestic production was steady in May and June, but the closure of the Houston Ship Channel during April brought unexpected disruption to the free flow of trading activity.
Demand for US-produced MTBE, which is chiefly exported to international markets, continued to be robust as global gasoline consumption was strong. 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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